An architecture that achieves high speed performance in a network protocol handler combines parallelism and pipelining in multiple programmable processors, along with specialized front-end logic at the network interface that handles time critical protocol operations. The multiple processors are interconnected via a high-speed interconnect, using a multi-token counter protocol for data transmission between processors and between processors and memory. Each processor's memory is globally accessible by other processors, and memory synchronization operations are used to obviate the need for “spin-locks”. Each processor has multiple threads, each capable of fully executing programs. Threads within a processor are assigned the processing of various protocol functions in a parallel/pipelined fashion. Data frame processing is done by one or more of the threads to identify related frames. Related frames are dispatched to the same thread so as to minimize the overhead associated with memory accesses and general protocol processing.
5828880 Pipeline system and method for multiprocessor applications in which each of a plurality of threads execute all steps of a process characterized by normal and parallel steps on a respective datum
* 7185178 Fetch speculation in a multithreaded processor
5353418 System storing thread descriptor identifying one of plural threads of computation in storage only when all data for operating on thread is ready and independently of resultant imperative processing of thread
5560029 Data processing system with synchronization coprocessor for multiple threads
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