Cell Processor

A parallel vector processing architecture intended for use in consumer electronics (including Playstation3, HDTV's, cell phones, and PDA's). Principle parties are Sony, Toshiba, and IBM.

Introducing the IBM/Sony/Toshiba Cell Processor � Part I: the SIMD processing units at ArsTechnica: Introducing the IBM/Sony/Toshiba Cell Processor � Part II: The Cell Architecture at ArsTechnica: ISSCC 2005: The CELL Microprocessor at Real World Technologies: Cell Architecture Explained: Purportedly the NextBigThing, the CellProcessor is either a lot of hot air or the general purpose CPU's worst nightmare.

Or probably neither.

Based on what I know of the cell, it certainly looks interesting. And it'll give the PS3 a whole bunch of oomph (one columnist for the San Jose Mercury-News remarked on the wisdom of providing supercomputers to those who like to play Grand Theft Auto), for sure.

But I suspect much of the hype is the result of some wishful thinking. Some of the wishful thinking, I suspect, comes from those who desparately want the architecture of current production computer systems to be smashed -- folks who don't like Intel or MS as vendors, folks who don't like monolithic kernels and monolithic hardware architectures, etc. Some of the hype for the Cell reminds me of some the hype surrounding the SegwayDevice -- it will require cities to be renovated, and so forth. Generally, new inventions that require such massive infrastucture modifications in order to succeed, will fail -- evolutionary rather than revolutionary technology tends to fare better. OTOH, the SegwayDevice didn't have the likes of IBM, Sony, and Toshiba backing it.

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