Students use PS3 to run programs on Cell
Students in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have used a PS3 to study the parallel processing capabilities of the Cell microprocessor. No, these weren’t gamers, but the first students on a course at MIT based on the workings of the microprocessor which was developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba.
So what did they do? One project was to create a 3D version of the pong game running on the PS3. It was a four week course. A website hosted by the Computer Architecture Group at MIT posts information on the course, including lectures and recitation plans. IBM is also running a programming contest for college and university students in 25 different countries, offering cash prizes and awards for the most innovative applications of the Cell processor. The course, which focused around introducing parallel programming to students, was taught by Saman Amarasinghe, a professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Dr. Rodric Rabbah of IBM. “The fact that students, with no background in parallel programming or the Cell, were able to get their projects done from scratch in just about one month largely goes to show the capability and determination of our students, coupled with the availability of a robust toolchain for Cell/B.E. development,” said Saman Amarasinghe, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT.