The IBM Cell Broadband Engine (Cell BE) is a new class of multi-core processors for consumer and business markets. The Cell BE was developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba for game consoles (the Cell BE is used in the Sony Playstation III) and also for use in scientific applications. A new IBM Redbook, ‘Programming the Cell BE’ includes sample applications of interest to oil and gas, Monte Carlo simulation and fast Fourier transform (FFT). The Cell BE’s has two kinds of processors, both of which share all available memory. The Power Processor Element (PPE) contains a 64-bit core that runs 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems and applications. The Synergistic Processor Element (SPE) is optimized for running compute intensive SIMD Single Instruction, Multiple Data (a.k.a. vector processing) applications.
The novel architecture addresses one of the fundamental obstacles to high performance computing—that of memory ‘latency,’ which is now considered to be the main limit to peak compute capability. The Cell BE’s 16 parallel direct memory paths promise ‘just in time delivery’ of data for compute-intensive applications. The Cell BE SDK for ‘multi core acceleration’ offers support for C++, ADA and Fortran. Download the Redbook from www.oilit.com/links/1011.
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