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IBM Makes First Cell-Based Computer Available

The blade system is well-suited for applications in medical imaging, aerospace, military, digital animation, and communications, IBM says.
MANHASSET, N.Y. — IBM Corp. said Tuesday (Sept. 12) it is offering its first systems based on the Cell processor it co-developed with Sony and Toshiba.

IBM said its BladeCenter QS20 is based on the Cell BE blade system that leverages high-performance computing power and the ability to run graphic-intensive applications. IBM said it expects the BladeCenter QS20 to broaden use of Cell BE in medical imaging, aerospace, military, digital animation and communications applications.

Cell BE was originally developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba for use in game consoles. Cell BE's multicore architecture and high-speed communications reportedly deliver response times approaching supercomputers.

Beta versions of the BladeCenter are currently being used by U.S., U.K, Spanish, German, French, Japanese and Korean customers, IBM said. Early customers include the University of Manchester and the Fraunhofer Institute (Munich, Germany).

Last year, IBM announced it would collaborate with Mercury Computer Systems to enable Mercury to build Cell-based machines. IBM is also working with industry through Blade.org, Power.org and standards groups.