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IBM ships first Cell-based computer

Sep 12, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

IBM is shipping its first Cell-based computer. The BladeCenter QS20 is a blade designed for use with IBM's Linux-based System Cluster 1350 product line. It targets graphic-intensive applications in medical imaging, aerospace, defense, digital animation, communications, and oil and gas exploration.

The QS20 appears to be world's second Cell-based product to reach general availability, the first being a 470-pound behemoth delivered by defense computing specialist Mercury Computer Systems in January. Mercury also shipped a Cell-based PCI Express add-in card in July.

IBM describes the QS20 as a high performance blade that is “especially suitable for some compute-intensive, single-precision, floating-point workloads.” Correctly targeted workloads, including image processing, signal processing, and graphics rendering applications, can be handled at “many times the speed of a traditional microprocessor,” IBM says.

Specific use cases suggested by IBM include:

  • Medical imaging — Comparing and mapping 3D images of different resolutions and formats
  • Aerospace & defense — Higher fidelity, higher resolution signal processing applications, such as radar
  • Oil and gas industry — Faster, more accurate seismic mapping

IBM says that beta versions of the QS20 have been testing at customer locations around the U.S., in the U.K., Spain, Germany, France, Japan, and Korea. Early deployments include:

  • University of Manchester is evaluating the QS20 for bio-informatics, molecular modeling, and other scientific and engineering applications
  • RapidMind has added QS20 systems to its online RapidMind Development Platform
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics is using the QS20 to develop mathematical and medical visualization systems


The QS20 is generally available now, as part of IBM's Linux-based System Cluster 1350 product line (a 1350 chassis filled with QS20s is pictured at right).

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