IBM Busts Open The Cell

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The high-profile heart of the forthcoming PlayStation 3 will have key details disclosed in Barcelona today.

Armonk-based IBM plans to follow through with its promise to talk candidly about its Cell processor. The technology firm will debut the chip in 2006.

IBM Busts Open The Cell

The Cell, developed in conjunction with high definition DVD rivals Sony and Toshiba, has a 64-bit Power core, and eight separate co-processors. These allow the Cell to fulfill data-intensive processing functions for scientific, cryptographic, and media applications.

Oh, and it will have gaming applications as well, as future owners of the Playstation 3 will find.

By tapping the widespread open-source solutions community, IBM hopes to create a groundswell of support via new applications for the Cell. While IBM has shared technology with developers in the past, this circumstance will be different.

IBM does not plan to charge licensing fees to developers for access to the Cell technology, also known as Broadband Processor Architecture. Also, IBM will not require developers to be bound by non-disclosure agreements.

While developers will be able to write applications, IBM will retain the right to manufacture the chips. The company sees many uses for the Cell besides gaming; high-performance sectors like medical imaging and military applications could be markets for it.

To make the Cell a potent game chip, the designers have not incorporated full floating-point arithmetic compliance with IEEE standards. A subset of floating point arithmetic, single precision floating point computation allows for fast throughput of graphic objects. The real time nature of games and media helped Cell designers make this choice.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

IBM Busts Open The Cell
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