Creating High Performance Radar Applications with the Cell Broadband Engine

Carl B

Friends call me xbd
Legend
Got something new here for the Cell foru... er, I mean the console technology forum. :p

The Cell Broadband Engineâ„¢ (Cell BE) is an extremely high-performance signal processing chip currently under evaluation for multi-function radars, including detection, tracking, jamming, NCTR, raid assessment, missile data linking, mapping and communications. The key issue in parallel processing and fast context switching is the ability to combine extremely powerful hardware with efficient auto-code software (GEDAE). This webinar provides an intensive overview of model driven development on Cell BE with Gedae to enable software portability, efficient algorithmic upgrades and obsolescence-proof expansion.

Anyway this is going to be a live webcast, and registration is free - I've already registered myself.

The event is in one hour from now, at 1pm Eastern... so, anyone interested in watching along, set your timer!

http://opensystems-publishing.com/ecast/
 

patsu

Legend
Cool ! Can't watch now. Will it be archived ? Can you summarize :p ?
Porting radar tracking system was my first job (long long ago). :D
 

Carl B

Friends call me xbd
Legend
Ok, it finished up... I'll be posting some slides and impressions when I get a chance, but basically beyond the slides, if listening to the actual audio, what you come away with is that the Defense industry is highly interested in Cell. Interesting anecdote is that several companies have purchased PS3's to mess around with in-houuse.

And of course expect to see slides with 40x performance gains etc etc...
 
Any word on if an Axis of Evil<TM> nation has purchased untold amounts of PS3s to use as missile guidance system? :cool:

Cool thread. Thanks!
Even though it's a military application it's still fascinating. Mopre adoptation of Cell means more coders having familiarity with the chip = btter for devs and in the end us gamers!
Peace.
 

Todd33

Veteran
Banned
Ok, it finished up... I'll be posting some slides and impressions when I get a chance, but basically beyond the slides, if listening to the actual audio, what you come away with is that the Defense industry is highly interested in Cell. Interesting anecdote is that several companies have purchased PS3's to mess around with in-houuse.

And of course expect to see slides with 40x performance gains etc etc...

A couple of our research guy bought a PS3 to learn Cell programming. It cost too much and takes a while to get a Mercury or IBM Blade.
 

one

Unruly Member
Veteran
Any word on if an Axis of Evil<TM> nation has purchased untold amounts of PS3s to use as missile guidance system? :cool:
You should check the F@H world map every day to watch if Kim Jong-il is running it in North Korea...

For another Cell adoption news item,
http://www.hpcwire.com/hpc/1322708.html
Cell Processor Based Blade Tackles Video Compression

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 16 -- Broadcast International ("BI") today announced that it is currently implementing the IBM BladeCenter QS20 "Cell Blade" in a test environment as a means to significantly improve performance and reduce costs associated with video compression, while delivering high quality video at low bandwidths.

As the first step in the new relationship, the two companies have established the Broadcast International-IBM Joint Development Center to collaborate with IBM engineers on integrating BI's patented CodecSys multi-codec encoding system on IBM's multi-core Cell Broadband Engine (Cell/B.E.) based BladeCenter QS20.

BI currently uses up to 70 servers, from various manufacturers including HP, operating on x86 architecture to run its CodecSys application in compressing video. Using IBM's Cell/B.E. BladeCenter QS20, BI hopes to consolidate the number of servers to just one rack of Cell Blades.
 

Carl B

Friends call me xbd
Legend
Ok took me a while to have the time to write up a synopsis of this...

Basically it was an hour long presentation divided up roughly into Cell introduction for the first 20 min, main presentation for the next 20 min, and Q&A for the last twenty.

The main presentation was by a company named Gedae, who serve the defense industry and the military. Their focus lies in two things - providing development tools for heterogeneous processing environments, and doing so with an emphasis on signal processing algorithms.

Key points made were:

1) Gedae began working with Cell only this year, and they are heavily impressed

2) Their development environment is multi-thread aware naturally, and for the applications they target the compiler will thread, schedule, build, and plan memory use to maximize compute resources

3) They are presently optimizing for Cell/SPEs and have an aggressive roadmap planned to that effect

4) Scheduling is dynamic and can be run on an SPE at minimal overhead

5) Data movement is across all processors

6) Key benchmark was RASSP 2, a DARPA-funded benchmark used to measure real-time SAR performance

Here are some slides from the key part of the presentation:

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Carl B

Friends call me xbd
Legend
Interesting tidbits from the Q&A session (that was quite abbreviated due to time, with dozens of questions left unasked):

*) Someone asked if IBM was going to integrate Cell support into Eclipse - the answer was that Cell support was already present

*) Someone else asked about whether Gedae's tools supported development across multiple Cells; the obvious answer of course was yes, and Gedae reiterated that any number of architectures could be thrown into the mix in a unified environment

*) Requests have been placed for Cell processors that operate in extended/military-spec temperature ranges; IBM has no concrete plans at this time to certify such chips, but partners may (perhaps Mercury might?)

*) IBM has a dedicated department focused on expanding the Cell ecosystem

*) Several defense companies have already begun testing Cell via Linux in-house on PS3s before determining whether to go larger; Gedae themselves has a PS3 in-house as well
 

Crayon

Regular
Well it's no good for jeneral processings. Game code, you know. Maybe if radar programming was 87% streaming it would be a different story but the fact of the matter is that all that stuff is done on gpus now.

I kid. :LOL:

Sorry, I just got thru poking around the locked propaganda thread and I couldn't believe what I was reading. Great job in there, XBD and others, trying to explain things. Even if I had the ability to explain that stuff as well as you did, I would have gone crazy doing so much typing.

On topic, I'm pleased to see the take-up of cell in various industries. It gives me a glimmer of hope one day that consumer computing will be accomplished by more lightweight, elegant silicon than it is today.

Here's to a cheap, powerful, flexible and (imo) pleasingly nuanced new architecture. May it be the first of many!
 
Cell supports your war of^H^Hon Terror

So the Cell is potentially good at making advanced weapons.

I guess if the console "war" ever manifests itself as a real war, we know who will have the upper hand ;)
 

3dilettante

Legend
Alpha
*) Requests have been placed for Cell processors that operate in extended/military-spec temperature ranges; IBM has no concrete plans at this time to certify such chips, but partners may (perhaps Mercury might?)

I was curious about this. I suspected that a Cell fabbed at 90nm for a commercial product wouldn't be up to task for applications that need hardened electronics.

Perhaps if a run of chips at 90nm were given process tweaks like thickened gate oxides, and they significantly lowered clocks, there would be wider applicability. It may be that Cell has too much hardware, and they could dump half the SPEs.

At those low geometries, though, it may necessitate a variant of Cell with much better RAS and error correction. The PS3 doesn't put too much of a premium on data and system integrity.

A hardened Cell wouldn't be as impressive at peak numbers compared to the commercial variants, but it could still be very impressive.


The other thing I noticed is that the PPE again is turning up as a bottleneck. The transpose operations and the redistributing of data to the SPEs could be improved with a better PPE.

What this means for future Cells that will further increase the ratio of SPEs to PPEs is unclear.
 

Shifty Geezer

uber-Troll!
Moderator
Legend
How is this console related?
Somewhat loosely! It all ties in to Cell's performance, particularly it's advantages in certain algorithms, and all evidence of this helps get an idea of what applications the chip can be put to - on and out of games.

Basically, seeing Cell perform well at these tasks makes people go 'woooo' at the prospect of a fast chip driving their games ;)
 

Arwin

Now Officially a Top 10 Poster
Moderator
Legend
The other thing I noticed is that the PPE again is turning up as a bottleneck. The transpose operations and the redistributing of data to the SPEs could be improved with a better PPE.

Wasn't that bottleneck already overcome in comparable projects by simply shifting some of the restribution logic to SPE? For instance, a PPE sends data to two SPES and those in turn delegate some work to three more SPEs each (or two).

Wasn't that what they did in HAVOK among others?
 

Carl B

Friends call me xbd
Legend
Wasn't that bottleneck already overcome in comparable projects by simply shifting some of the restribution logic to SPE? For instance, a PPE sends data to two SPES and those in turn delegate some work to three more SPEs each (or two).

Wasn't that what they did in HAVOK among others?

SPE-managed tasking is exactly what is highlighted in the slide following the PPE-bottlenecking, so really the centralized transpose is shown only for the purpose of then coming to contrast it with the much improved performance of the distributed transpose.

(That PPE sure is medicore though!)
 
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