Sony’s Cell

Fortune writes about Sony’s new chip that will power its video game consoles and other devices:

Code-named the Cell chip, the new processor has a parallel-processing engine that is optimized for handling vast amounts of complex graphics instructions, the kind that can blur the distinction between filmed movies and computer-generated special effects…Sony said it would deliver a Cell-based workstation computer before the end of the year.

The Cell chip is also expected to be the main engine of the PlayStation 3 game console, expected to replace the PS2 in late 2005 or 2006.

Within a few years, Sony said, movies and games will be “fused and indistinguishable.” My guess is that the Cell chip will eventually find its way into all sorts of Sony products, ranging from game consoles to portable media players to TV sets.

Also, because most of these future Cell-based products will have broadband connections, it’s not inconceivable that millions of devices hooked to the Net can share unused processing cycles. We’ve already seen examples of how ad hoc networks of small personal computers can be harnessed to create virtual supercomputers. Now, imagine ad hoc networks of small supercomputers, which just happen to be game consoles. Who knows? Maybe such a global supercomputer will discover intelligent life in the universe, which seems to be lacking these days.

Forbes adds: “Sony Chief Executive Nobuyuki Idei said it would use Cell to power its next-generation game console as well as a network television that will offer functions similar to a personal computer…The Cell processor will be up to 10 times more powerful than conventional chips and able to shepherd large chunks of information through a high-speed Internet network.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.