The three companies behind the Cell project – IBM, Sony Group and Toshiba – have today released documents describing the technical details of the Cell Broadband Engine architecture.
The full documents can be found at IBM’s Cell website
and at Sony Computer Entertainment Inc’s own site
. Toshiba will release its documents once the company completes its customer support structure.
The first high-level technical specifications of the Cell processor (to be used in, amongst other things, the PlayStation 3 console) were released in papers delivered at San Francisco's International Solid State Circuit Conference (ISSCC) in February 2005. The companies involved hope that by opening up detailed technical specifications to developers, business partners, academic and research organizations, and potential customers they can aggressively stimulate the creation of Cell-based applications.
The documents released today describe three major areas of the Cell microprocessor, starting with the Cell broadband engine architecture – which defines a processor structure directed toward distributed processing and multimedia applications.
The documents also deal with the Synergistic Processor Unit Instruction Set Architecture (SPU ISA), which is used to accelerate media and for streaming applications for systems based upon the Cell broadband engine architecture. Synergistic Processor Unit C/C++ language extensions, the application binary interface and assembly language specifications are also detailed in the documents.