Einstein@home gossip: Application ported to the PS3, but no SPE-support so far

January 24, 2007

EinsteinVia 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!

About Einstein@home:
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.

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Einstein@home S5 update

August 8, 2006

EinsteinBen Owen of the Einstein@home science-team posted an update about the ongoing efforts; this posting was done in the Science-forum, not on the frontpage, where one would expect it.

He reports that the National Science Board officially certified the project as “reached the initial design goal” which means “we’re officially in business”. He also points out that the S5 raw-data is twice as good as S4 was; they had some problems with the precission of their interferometers, mostly due to construction-works outside the L1-site.

Check out the forum for more details.

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