Cell chip next to tacks
for size comparison.
as web browsing and streaming
content to a TV),” Hofstee explains.
Cell Sells Grid
Chip innards (horizontal view).
devices (both of which create a need
for high bandwidth chips). Cell
technology will make it possible to
integrate several IP-addressable
devices into one.
Companies like IBM and Mercury
Computers are already producing
Cell-based blade servers for
(supercomputing) with lower power
The Cell has other advantages.
“With nine processor cores with
media capabilities in each, and the
ability for software to control
movement of data and code in detail,
there are substantial performance
benefits,” says Hofstee.
“Cell has unique capabilities in
the areas of security,” he adds, “with
the ability to configure each of the
eight synergistic processor elements
as a secure processor on the fly.” Cell
also offers hardware support for real-time processing, “even when there are
multiple tasks running in parallel (such
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As technologies like the Cell chip
proliferate and join one another
through the Internet, there comes an
economic incentive for people to
move toward a global computer grid.
The global computer grid or earth grid
has been under discussion by
scientists and the military for some
time now (
The grid will consist in grid data-bases and other valuable and incumbent grid technologies (sensors, mass
massaging of the world’s data collected
by these sensors, and the list goes on).
Suddenly, the grid will insinuate
itself into our lives. It won’t work
across traditional computers only, but
cell phones can also share processing
power and information, as well as can
any other device or appliance.
“IBM made Cell/B.E. available to
selected universities and research
institutions via remote access early on,
also a Cell/B.E.-based blade system
was just put into service on the
Chinese computing grid and is
accessible by a number of universities
there. Stanford’s “folding@home” is
a type of loosely coupled grid
computer,” says Hofstee.
Other Cell/B.E. applications
(initially) include medicine, industry,
and defense, adds Hofstee.
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70 September 2007
Applications and experimentation
with the Cell/B.E. technology abound.
Its long-term benefits depend on the
imaginations, aspirations, and perspiration of those developing to it. NV