February 8th, 2005

  • evan


I keep reading in the news and hearing about IBM/Toshiba/Sony’s new “cell” chip, which will reportedly be in the next Playstation and also in IBM workstations.

One article says:
The ‘cell’ which gives the chip its name doesn’t refer to the hardware, but to a virtual clump of software which roams the system looking for computing resources. The patent refers to a “cell object” - program and data - and it can even roam across LANs or WANs, to find another Cell-based device.

A Cell chip consists of one or more independent execution units, and a program can commandeer as many of these as resources allow to create a temporary execution pipeline, each with its own register file and banks of RAM. These pipelines are dynamically configurable and can lock out other processes from grabbing their hardware resources.
Which sounds a little too ambitious / really really hard to make work well.

Hopefully our resident architecture expert jeffr will find the time to give us a report. Check back later to see if he comments! :)