IBM , Toshiba and Sony have announced the release of documents that describe technical details of their Cell microprocessor.
The trio of companies believe unlocking some of Cell’s details will bring about development of the technology beyond gaming, the initial application for the device.
In particular, the companies will make available documents describing the Cell Broadband Engine Architecture, the Synergistic Processor Unit Instruction Set Architecture (SPU ISA) and language specifications.
As IBM explained, Cell Broadband Engine Architecture defines a processor structure directed toward distributed processing and multimedia applications. The architecture contains a control processor based on the Power architecture, augmented with multiple high-performance SIMD synergistic processor units and a rich set of Direct Memory Access (DMA) commands for efficient communications among processing elements. Meanwhile, the SPU ISA discloses the high performance SIMD RISC processor designed to accelerate media and streaming applications for systems based upon the Cell Broadband Engine Architecture.
The trio will detail in documents available on IBM’s website, Synergistic Processor Unit C/C++ language extensions and application binary interface and assembly language specifications, which aid software developers in unleashing the full processing power of the SPUs.
“IBM and its partners are committed to providing the development and open-source communities with comprehensive, early access to the Cell Broadband Engine architecture and to encouraging those exploring the infinite possibilities of Cell,” says Jim Kahle, IBM Fellow, in a statement.
“We strongly support an environment that removes virtually all barriers to building innovative applications based on Cell.”