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A research company unveiled some details about the upcoming IBM Cell processor that is mostly known as the base for Sony’s PlayStation 3 game machine. The research firm Petrov Group believes that the new era of computing will open its doors once the Cell processors from IBM are unveiled.

“The year 2004 marks the birth of a distinctly new cellular computing era. As with past watershed computing events, the driving and trend-setting force will be IBM. While I shy away from hyperbole, our report demonstrates that the business impact of IBM’s new cellular computing technology will be potentially as profound as the Yucatan asteroid’s was on life on Earth millions of years ago,” said Boris Petrov, managing partner of the Petrov Group.

Cell microprocessors and their micro-architecture were jointly developed by Sony, IBM and Toshiba are projected to be the base for Sony’s PlayStation3 console, while simplified or more powerful versions of the Cell chips will serve as the base for consumer electronics or more complex applications. The Cell microprocessors are expected to unleash massive computing power – something multimedia environments need tremendously – but will require some new approaches in programming for the central processing units.

According to Petrov Group, IBM’s “GHz U-turn,” away from frequency and toward System-on-Chip integration and memory density, will have profound consequences for all major players in the digital entertainment, enterprise computing, and semiconductor industry sectors. It could lead to mass extinctions and the emergence of new vendors and businesses; it will profoundly change the landscapes of entire industries and create new configurations of business innovation, productivity, and added value. The changes are imminent although still poorly, if at all, understood.

“This year the era of entirely new organic-like computing technology is starting. It will be based on software-enabled computing cells. These building blocks will be highly integrated and super-dense, have very low power, and will be cost-effectively produced in ultra-large volumes. Perhaps most importantly, it will be software, rather than hardware, that will fuel the computing performance of the new systems,” Mr. Petrov said.

The first commercial Cell microprocessors are expected to emerge in late 2004, according to earlier reports.

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