Via the Einstein@home Cruncher’s Corner:
An Einstein@home cruncher ported the Einstein@home science application to Sony’s Playstation 3, but only using the Power PC core of the CPU. He did not use the SPEs from the Cell yet, which explains the floating-point performance as resulted on the Computer summary page for his PS3:
Operating System: Linux 2.6.16-20061110.ydl.2ps3
Measured floating point speed: 284.52 million ops/sec
Measured integer speed: 974.06 million ops/sec
Porting the science-application to support the SPEs of the Cell will be hard, without real compiler support. I can only guess what compiler he used and only speculate about the plans he has. Considering that the SPEs only do single-precission FLOPS he’ll have to find a way to implement double-precision in software (which isn’t a problem nowadays, algorithms exist). Also, the Sony CBEs don’t have all SPEs, it’s rumoured that only 6 out of 8 SPEs are utilized – my guess is that Sony gets the CPUs which failed the inital burn-in tests, the ones where some SPEs are dead. Cheap enough for a consumer-product.
However, interesting times ahead. Go, Gaurav, go!
Einstein@Home is a program that uses your computer’s idle time to search for spinning neutron stars (also called pulsars) using data from the LIGO and GEO gravitational wave detectors. Einstein@Home is a World Year of Physics 2005 project supported by the American Physical Society (APS) and by a number of international organizations.