[Beowulf] Has anyone actually seen/used a cell system?

Andrew Shewmaker agshew at gmail.com
Sun Oct 1 02:05:52 EDT 2006


On 9/19/06, J.A.Delcorso at larc.nasa.gov <J.A.Delcorso at larc.nasa.gov> wrote:
> If this has already been discussed on the list, a pointer
> to the thread would be appreciated!
>
> Looking over the list I found a couple references to the
> IBM cell processors being used in PS3.  Has anyone had a
> chance to actually use/test one of these systems yet?
> Considering that the PS3 is supposed to be competing with
> the XBOX 360 and the Wii, I assume that it's out, or that
> someone has actually used one of these systems.
>
> Can anyone point me to a url, or tell me what their
> experience is with this technology?  Is it as fast as
> it's purported to be?  Apparently RedHat is developing
> EL 4.3 to run on the system?
>
> Any input is appreciated,

People in Stanford's graphics lab are doing promising
work making the Cell easier to program.

They have been busy creating a programming language
called Sequoia that focuses on memory hierarchies.  A
programmer defines a task that recursively decomposes
the input data until it reaches the bottom of the memory
hierarchy, where it runs an optimized kernel.  The runtime
environment uses a specification of the memory hierarchy
for the generic PC cluster, Cell Blade Server, etc.  In the
case of a cluster, the runtime is built on top of MPI.  In the
case of a Cell Blade Server, the runtime manages task
overlays and asynchronous DMA transfers of the data.

They have a paper that explains it well and has some
interesting benchmarks.

http://sc06.supercomputing.org/schedule/pdf/pap225.pdf

And the public release of their compiler and runtime
system should be publically available soon.  The site
does have some more documentation of Sequoia.

http://www.stanford.edu/group/sequoia/cgi-bin/

-- 
Andrew Shewmaker
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