Experiments in scientific computation on the PlayStation 3
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The Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) offers the computational power of a parallel processor at low cost, which makes it a great starter unit for development in parallel programming. To explore the capabilities of the unit, we took a simple ray tracing program and extended it to render triangulated height field data across the PS3’s 6 synergistic processing units (SPUs). We also implemented the heat averaging equation as a precursor to CFD analysis on the PS3. In our studies, we found the Cell engine in the PS3 to be a powerful machine, however great care must be taken while developing because its unique platform calls for many levels of optimization to ensure efficiency.
We acknowledge discussions with Prof. Paul Woodward and help from Spring Liu. This research was supported by the Middleware grant of IF program of National Science Foundation.
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