UMBC Multicore Computational Center (MC**2) hits engadget

September 25th, 2007

An item on UMBC’s Multicore Computational Center was featured in engadget today. Technorati judges this to be the world’s most popular blog, receiving about one million pageviews a day. Engadget was said to get 10M on the day the iphone was released.

Last Friday UMBC held an event to launch MC**2, the UMBC Multicore Computational Center. MC**2 will focus on supercomputing research related to aerospace/defense, financial services, medical imaging and weather/climate change prediction. IBM awarded UMBC a significant gift to support the development of this new center, which researchers describe as an “orchestra” of one of the world’s most powerful supercomputing processors, the Cell Broadband Engine (Cell/B.E.). This was jointly developed by IBM, Sony, and Toshiba and is used in Sony’s PlayStation3.

Stories on engadget and WBAL skewed the facts somewhat. UMBC is not building a supercomputer out of PS3s. Rather IBM is giving UMBC a number of of their new Cell Broadband Engine processor blades that will be added to our existing IBM based beowulf system. The blades include QS20s and soon to be released QS21s. These have processors that are based on the the processor in the PS3 but with much higher performance characteristics. For example, the Qs21 has two 3.2 GHz Cell/B.E. processors, 2 GB XDR memory, integrated dual GB ethernet, and an InfiniBand adapter. One the goals in the IBM/UMBC partnership is to collaborate on exploring how cell processors can be used for business, science and engineering applications.