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IBM Cell Processor A Military Grade Product

David Utter
Expert Author
Published: 2005-06-28

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The forthcoming PlayStation 3 will have IBM's Cell processor inside. It's so powerful, the chip may have military applications.

Chelmsford, Mass.-based Mercury Computer Systems will be the first firm outside the consumer electronics industry to utilize the Cell processor. Mercury serves many industries, including aerospace and defense, telecommunications, and education and research.

"The tremendous performance advantages afforded by the Cell processor will enable Mercury to address an even broader range of compute-intensive challenges for our customers," said Mercury's president and chief executive officer, Jay Bertelli.

Working with IBM's Engineering and Technology Services group, Mercury will integrate the Cell into applications like radar, sonar, and digital X-rays. The Cell microprocessor is a heterogeneous chip multiprocessor consisting of a 64-bit Power core.

It is augmented with eight specialized co-processors, based on a novel single-instruction multiple-data (SIMD) architecture called SPU (synergistic processor unit). IBM touts the Cell as suitable for data-intensive processing as found in cryptography, media, and scientific applications.

IBM, with Toshiba and Sony, developed the Cell processor. Initial testing demonstrated a peak performance in excess of 200 gigaflops - 200 billion floating point operations per second - by the Cell.

"IBM and its world-class engineering team is dedicated to collaborating with innovative companies like Mercury to deliver the next generation of computing systems to benefit businesses around the globe," said Raj S. Desai, vice president, IBM Engineering and Technology Services.

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

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