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False Positives Adventures in Technology, SciFi and Culture from Toronto

Monday, February 07, 2005

Further Details of Cell processor expected this week

As mentioned in MultiCore: Cell Architecture Explained, this week at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) more details of the Cell will be present by STI (Sony, Toshiba, and IBM).

The New York Times (reg req) has the advance story for the non technical reader: "Smaller Than a Pushpin, More Powerful Than a PC":

The Cell chip, computer experts said, could have a theoretical peak performance of 256 billion mathematical operations per second. With that much processing power, the chip would have placed among the top 500 supercomputers on a list maintained by scientists at the University of Mannheim and the University of Tennessee as recently as June 2002....the Cell architecture is distinguished by the fact that it controls an array of eight additional processors that the design team refers to as synergistic processing elements, or S.P.E.'s. Each of the S.P.E.'s is a 128-bit processor in its own right.
So, Supercomputer on a chip?!..128 bit processor (leaping over 64 bit processors) NYT's go it wrong, rather "128 x 128-bit registers"...BBC has a similar piece.

MacsimumMews talks about The Next Wave: Apple's Connection to the CELL Processor, and The Next Wave: A Closer Peek at Sony's CELL Patent: What Are We Missing?

JoyStiq worries Will Sony Kill the Cell Chip with Security, based on a ZdNet article and comments that "a number of on-the-chip security measures, mostly aimed at preventing unauthorized copying or distribution of copyright content". This is very briefly mentioned by Nicholas Blachford under DRM in the Hardware, and maybe a side effect of the Cell grid on a chip Architecture, but sounds a lot like "Trusted Computing". (See EFF:Trusted Computing: Promise and Risk piece for background).

The Register has an excellent analysis in:The Cell chip - what it is, and why you should care, plus The Cell Chip - how will MS and Intel face the music?

Also in regard to the Nicholas Blachford article : Cell Architecture Explained, Ars Technica criticed it in Cell "analysis" a mixed bag, Nicholas reponded with Updates, Clarifications and Missing Bits and a direct Rebuttal.

See MultiCore for more.

Update: from Electronics Weekly, Wired and some pictures (via episteme.arstechnica we have links to images
http://img204.exs.cx/img204/7944/cell9vw.jpg
http://img204.exs.cx/img204/1457/cell21iw.jpg
http://img145.exs.cx/img145/1403/cellbefore8wt.jpg
http://www.electronicsweekly.co.uk/ImageLibrary/GetImage.asp?liAssetID=1006
http://www.electronicsweekly.co.uk/ImageLibrary/GetImage.asp?liAssetID=1005


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