SANTA CRUZ, Calif. Aiming at finding innovative applications that will take the IBM Cell Broadband Engine (BE) processor beyond video games, IBM is sponsoring a Cell BE contest for university students from 25 different countries. It includes a Cell BE trivia quiz and a software design competition.
The Cell BE processor was originally designed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba for use in gaming consoles. It's used today in the Sony PlayStation 3. One purpose of the Cell Broadband Engine University Challenge, according to IBM representatives, is to help identify other application areas for the Cell BE.
"This contest gives students a unique opportunity to take the technology underpinnings of the Cell Broadband Engine and then imagine what is possible given their own skills and interests," said Nick Donofrio, IBM Executive Vice President, Innovation and Technology, in a statement. "They are the earliest adopters of these advanced technologies and in the best position to see new opportunities to take full advantage of its capabilities."
According to IBM, the Cell BE is now being used for such purposes as molecular dynamic and cosmology simulations, 3D imaging of the human body, 3D rendering of the City of Rome in 400 A.D., programmable ultrasound machine architecture, and animation programs that replicate human motion. In electronic design, a Cell-BE based platform promises to accelerate optical proximity correction (OPC).
The contest has two challenges. The first is simply answering a Cell BE trivia quiz. The second, which comes with cash prizes of up to $10,000, requires the development of a C/C++ program using the IBM Cell Broadband Engine software development kit.
In the second challenge, users may provide application solutions in such areas as financial services, medical imaging, electronic design, content creation, digital video surveillance, computational biology, and high-performance computing. They may also provide Cell BE-based operating system technology, or suggest concepts and implementations that enable programming of the Cell BE's multi-core architecture.
All information on eligibility, rules and requirements, and entry applications for both challenges are available on line.