Supercomputing in your living room

Just read an article in the Economist, confirmed by many other sites, like say It’s about the new processor released by Sony, IBM and Toshiba, called the Cell. It’s got a central processor that sends “packets” of code and data to each of the eight actual processing centres on the chip, or to nearby other Cells if multiple chips are included in the setup.

All this means it’s not aimed (at this stage) at PC’s, as it will only run code that has been split into this “packets”. So supercomputers with customised code are an obvious application.

But the other application is the Playstation 3. It looks like there may be 4 Cells per Playstation. Here’s the punchline: if it were released today, that would put each individual Playstation 3 in the top 500 supercomputers in the world.

Ah yes, remember the days when the rumours required (insert “Axis of Evil” country of choice) to have hundreds of Playstation 2’s to have a supercomputer…

4 thoughts on “Supercomputing in your living room

  1. That’s interesting. Are you using the information at for your comparison? I knew a friend when I was studying at UT in Austin who had a summer internship with IBM working on some architecure-related issues for the Playstion 2 processor. I remember hearing all about it over $1 beers at The Library (a bar) on Sixth Street one Thursday night. Ah, the $1 beers. How I miss those.


  2. Well, no, my sources are not that closely checked. I’m using figures from the Economist article, confirmed by somthing that Mike might have remembered reading at some stage. So it must be true.

    The Playstation seems to be quite a beast! I suppose it’s nice being able to design architectures from scratch, without the need to make it backward compatible as one does with computers.


  3. You might have a point. But as we’ve established, I have no ability to tell the two of you apart anyway. But the point is, and I’m sticking to this, whoever it was knows what they’re talking about, so it must be true.


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