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IBM has Cell Blade

IBM will be selling a Cell powered blade server for non-general purpose uses.

At a demonstration Wednesday in New York, IBM showed off Cell’s processing power with a geology application that would have been right at home in a video game. A computer rendering of Mount Rainier, created using satellite photos and geological maps, allowed an operator to make a simulated flight over and next to the mountain.

IBM hopes this summer’s release of the Cell-based servers kick-starts work by third-party programmers. Eventually IBM is likely to deploy Cell in other kinds of hardware, from supercomputers to data storage systems.

In turn, that could inspire other customers to follow Mercury’s lead and try to tweak Cell for their own specialized purposes.

For example, defense contractor Raytheon Co. is exploring whether it can use Cell to dramatically improve the performance of sensor networks. Raytheon’s chief technology officer, Peter Pao, called Cell “a very exciting technology” with “a lot of promise,” but said Raytheon is still evaluating how to rewrite software and redesign systems to work with Cell.

The Cell seems to be tailored for video game type applications. It’s no wonder that this will not be for general purpose use.

Disclaimer: I now work for IBM.

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