[Beowulf] Cell

Michael Will mwill at penguincomputing.com
Wed Apr 27 14:29:48 EDT 2005


Vincent Diepeveen wrote:

>At 11:07 AM 4/27/2005 -0500, Ben Mayer wrote:
>  
>
>>On 4/27/05, Vincent Diepeveen <diep at xs4all.nl> wrote:
>>    
>>
>>>At 06:45 PM 4/26/2005 -0400, Mark Hahn wrote:
>>>      
>>>
>>>>>Obviously clever governments, who currently have giants of
>>>>>          
>>>>>
>supercomputers
>  
>
>>>>>which costs several million, will conclude they can buy a few cheapo
>>>>>          
>>>>>
>cell
>  
>
>>>>>processor machines which do more work than the entire system currently.
>>>>>          
>>>>>
>>>>this is ridiculous.  the Cell is basically a GPU - slightly more general
>>>>than the current-gen GPUs from Nvidia and ATI, but not drastically
>>>>        
>>>>
>different.
>  
>
>>>Cell is from my viewpoint a vector floating point processor which only
>>>disadvantage is executing branchy code.
>>>
>>>Just like Cray machines were in the past vector processors.
>>>      
>>>
>>Their current machine (X1E) is a vector machine. The problem on that
>>machine is that the code needs to vectorize. You can do it with the
>>compiler or libraries, but it HAS to vectorize to get that
>>performance. Cray's current machines depend on the compiler and highly
>>trained humans writing code (they have some libraries for specific
>>things like sequence alignment) to make things run faster then a
>>Pentium 4. Granted when they do run faster, it is a 32-64x speed up
>>*per CPU*.
>>
>>The people writing code for the PS3 (Cell) are going to have some
>>experience writing parallel vector code because that is what the PS2
>>was. But I will be very surprised if they can consistently get more
>>then 10% of peak.
>>
>>
>>    
>>
>>>A gpu doing effectively 256 gflop for just a few dollar would be nice.
>>>      
>>>
>>GPUs are often time doing calcs at half precision.
>>
>>    
>>
>>>See supercomputer reports europe.
>>>
>>>So there is a BIG need for a CHEAP vector processor doing floating point
>>>there.
>>>      
>>>
>>Is it processors that they need or bandwidth?
>>    
>>
>
>If you can deliver 1 processor that can do 1 tflop, there is no need for
>bandwidth anymore, everything happens on that chip in such a case :)
>  
>
And of course it has an infinite amount of memory in there too, with a 
telepatic connection to
the storage device to glean what might be the next thing to compute. It 
won't send anything
out either, but we assume the answer is 42.

Michael

>"If you were plowing a field, which would you rather use? Two strong oxen
>or 1024 chickens?"
>  Seymour Cray
>
>Vincent
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>  
>


-- 
Michael Will
Penguin Computing Corp.
Sales Engineer
415-954-2887
415-954-2899 fx
mwill at penguincomputing.com 
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