Cell processors are multi-core processors that use cellular architecture for high performance distributed computing. Cell processors are made of hardware and software cells whose interoperability is similar to how neural cells perform in the human brain. The Sony Corporation, Toshiba Corporation, and IBM formed a semiconductors research and development alliance called STI group to develop a cell chip. There are many different types of cell processors. Examples include an IBM cell processor, Sony cell processor, and Toshiba cell processor. An IBM cell processor is called system on a chip design in which the cell moves a small bit of memory closer to execution units and the processor stores commonly used codes and data in that local memory. A Sony cell processor is used in a Play Station Portable system that has stereo speakers and the controls. The Toshiba cell processor developed a cell microprocessor in a joint venture which is capable of decoding 48 MPEG streams into 1,920 x 1,080 resolution display. Cell processors consist of a general purpose power PC processor that is connected to eight special purpose SIMD processing elements (SPE). The SIMD processing elements (SPE) is a RISC processor that has 128 bit SIMD processor organization. Other Cell processors are commonly available.
There are several ways in which cell processors function. Cell processors can operate at 85 °C with a heat sink. Some other specifications of cell processors include 6.4 gigabit / second off-chip communication, 1.3Volts, and a frequency of 4.6 GHz. An IBM cell processor contain eight SIMD processing elements (SPE) that are connected to each other and also to the 512KB latch through the element interface bus (EIB). A Sony cell processor uses a 64 bit multicore cell chip that is designed to be used in consumer electronic devices, workstations and servers. A Toshiba cell processor uses eight SPEs of which six are used for decoding 48 MPEG streams, one for scaling the screen and the remaining can be used for a different processing function. An application cell processor was first used in the Play Station 3 game console. Cell processors are designed and manufactured to meet most industry specifications.
Cell processors are used in many applications. Examples include their use in medical imaging, aerospace, defense, seismic processing, and in the telecommunication field. Cell processors developed by IBM, Sony, and Toshiba are the most recognizable microprocessors.