A compiler to squeeze Cell
Armonk (USA) – IBM is the first to admit that writing optimized code for Cell, the multi-core super chip forged together with Sony and Toshiba, is not a walk in the park. To make life easier for developers, Big Blue has launched a project called Octopiler, which is developing a compiler capable of exploiting the technology behind the young multi-core processor.
The compiler, of which a preliminary version has already been released, is able to automatically generate highly optimized code for Cell’s highly parallel architecture. IBM hopes that Octopiler will give developers the opportunity to write applications capable of squeezing every drop of Cell’s power, and in particular that of its 8 calculation engines.
Its creators call Cell a “supercomputer in a chip”. In fact, this processor uses advanced parallel computing technologies with which it is possible not only to aggregate the computing power of multiple cores, or internal processing units, but also that of multiple devices based on the same architecture.
The first version of Cell includes eight 64-bit floating point computing units, called Synergistic Processing Elements (SPE), flanked by a PowerPC CPU capable of running two threads simultaneously.
As already known, Cell will be the heart of the future Playstation 3, expected by the end of 2006, but it will also go on board graphic workstations, home servers for audio / video streaming and set-top boxes for high definition digital TV. .