Announcing Kestrel-4

01 Apr 2016

Based on the recent and wild success of the Kestrel-3 home-brew computer project, I am happy to announce my next project for the open computing masses. Say hello to the Kestrel-4.


The Kestrel-4 will only slightly be more involved as home-brew projects are concerned. In particular, it will require completely custom FPGA-based circuit boards built around both Lattice iCE40K and Xilinx hardware. But it won’t stop there.

I/O Capacity

  • Support for 65536 I/O channels, each capable of over 1 Tbps throughput.
  • Individual I/O channels can be bonded together to support higher throughputs.
  • All I/O channels are backed by lowRISC cores, each with several minion cores dedicated to driving I/O.
  • Intelligent routing of traffic works around bottlenecks without programmer or user intervention.
  • Base unit will ship with 512 channels installed.

For those who desire the nostalgia of glass teletype screens, 3270-compatible block-mode terminals will be supported through a forth-coming control interface.

Memory Capacity

  • ccNUMA architecture with up to 128 independent banks of DDR4 SDRAM memory.
  • RapidIO interconnects between all banks and processing elements.
  • Each memory bank supports a 66-bit address space; maximum capacity 9.44 ZB of memory!

Processing Capacity

  • One PE card Pre-installed with 1024 RISC-V RV128-compatible processors.
  • Support for up to 16 PE cards, allowing up to 65536 CPUs.
  • All four modes supported: machine, hypervisor, supervisor, user.
  • 16-cores per processor die, each sporting 8-way superscalar technology.
  • 4GHz per processor for breakneck computational performance.
  • 128K of L1 cache per core, 1MB of L2 cache, and 16MB of L3 Cache.

Operating Systems

  • Kestrel Forth V4.0 will introduce support for virtual partitions (VPARs), running Linux applications as Forth words.
  • Licenses for 1-10 users, 10-100 users, 100+ users.
  • Run trusted applications in a single address space for best performance, or in separate address spaces for maximum security.
  • Now includes graphical configuration interface.
  • Supports interactive and batch jobs.
  • Hardware support for BLAZEMONGER technology!

Intended Application Portfolio

The Kestrel-4 will target financial, insurance, medical, nuclear reclaimation, weather prediction, enterprise file serving, enterprise web cache applications, as well as Minecraft and Crysis.


Samuel A. Falvo II
Twitter: @SamuelAFalvoII
Google+: +Samuel A. Falvo II

About the Author

Software engineer by day. Amateur computer engineer by night. Founded the Kestrel Computer Project as a proof-of-concept back in 2007, with the Kestrel-1 computer built around the 65816 CPU. Since then, he's evolved the design to use a simple stack-architecture CPU with the Kestrel-2, and is now in the process of refining the design once more with a 64-bit RISC-V compatible engine in the Kestrel-3.

Samuel is or was:

  • a Forth, Oberon, J, and Go enthusiast.
  • an amateur radio operator (KC5TJA/6).
  • an amateur photographer.
  • an intermittent amateur astronomer, astrophotographer.
  • a student of two martial arts (don't worry; he's still rather poor at them, so you're still safe around him. Or not, depending on your point of view).
  • a former semiconductor verification technician for the HIPP-II and HIPP-III line of Hifn, Inc. line-speed compression and encryption VLSI chips.
  • the co-founder of Armored Internet, a small yet well-respected Internet Service Provider in Carlsbad, CA that, sadly, had to close its doors after three years.
  • the author of GCOM, an open-source, Microsoft COM-compatible component runtime environment. I also made a proprietary fork named Andromeda for Amiga, Inc.'s AmigaDE software stack. It eventually influenced AmigaOS 4.0's bizarre "interface" concept for exec libraries. (Please accept my apologies for this architectural blemish; I warned them not to use it in AmigaOS, but they didn't listen.)
  • the former maintainer and contributor to Gophercloud.
  • a contributor to Mimic.

Samuel seeks inspirations in many things, but is particularly moved by those things which moved or enabled him as a child. These include all things Commodore, Amiga, Atari, and all those old Radio-Electronics magazines he used to read as a kid.

Today, he lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his beautiful wife, Steph, and four cats; 13, 6.5, Tabitha, and Panther.