IBM And Mercury To Put Multicore Chip In Imaging Applications - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Hardware & Infrastructure
11:54 AM

IBM And Mercury To Put Multicore Chip In Imaging Applications

The two vendors will jointly develop products and applications to take full advantage of the Cell processor, a chip with nine processing cores.

IBM is seeking to take its Cell processor, a chip with nine processing cores, into areas beyond its original target market in the gaming industry. The company on Tuesday said Mercury Computer Systems Inc. will develop computing boards for use in imaging-intensive markets.

"We designed the Cell processor to be applicable in more applications than just games," says Peter Hofstee, Cell chief scientist and architect for IBM. "Mercury is a superb example of a company that can take technology like this that is different from what is in the market now and start building up support that will enable it to move into a wider market."

In its first-generation design, the Cell processor has a Power-based core that's surrounded by eight "synergistic processing elements," which have been optimized to handle applications such as signal processing or image manipulation. The processor was developed by IBM, Toshiba, and Sony, and Sony intends to use the processor to power its next-generation PlayStation gaming console.

Mercury is a developer of embedded computer systems for medical-imaging, defense, and seismic-processing applications, and provides both board-level products as well as supporting software. Under terms of the agreement, Mercury and engineers from IBM's engineering and technology services unit will collaborate to develop products that can be used to handle graphics-intensive workloads and other computationally intensive applications. Initial hardware testing has shown that the Cell processor can provide performance of about 200 billion floating point operations per second.

"Mercury is a company that really understands parallel processing," says Nathan Brookwood, an analyst with Insight 64. "I think Mercury could help create products for applications that might otherwise need to use a whole bunch of floating-point digital-signal processors."

Brookwood says he's skeptical about the use of the Cell processor in more traditional computing environments like PCs or servers because there isn't software that's been specifically tailored to utilize the processor.

The relationship between IBM and Mercury is intended in part to help create those new applications, Hofstee says. "They can help bridge this technology and make it available to a wider set of companies," he says.

IBM has been working in its design centers to enable the Cell processor to be used with a Linux operating system, Hofstee says, but in most "embedded" applications where the Cell is expected to be used initially, it will likely be used with real-time operating-system software.

Rebecca Austen, director of deep computing marketing for IBM, says the company has been working on simulations using the Cell processor within its On-Demand computing centers. The simulations are attempting to determine how a cluster of Cell processors might function compared to more traditional processors in given applications and with a variety of software.

IBM may look to build an array of computing systems based on the Cell processor, she says, and offer computational time to customers on a per-usage basis as a method of creating new applications and systems based on the architecture.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
What Digital Transformation Is (And Isn't)
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/4/2019
Watch Out for New Barriers to Faster Software Development
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  12/3/2019
If DevOps Is So Awesome, Why Is Your Initiative Failing?
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  12/2/2019
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
The Cloud Gets Ready for the 20's
This IT Trend Report explores how cloud computing is being shaped for the next phase in its maturation. It will help enterprise IT decision makers and business leaders understand some of the key trends reflected emerging cloud concepts and technologies, and in enterprise cloud usage patterns. Get it today!
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll