November 09, 2005 08:00 ET

Linux™ Extensions, Key Software Development Tools Released for Cell Broadband Engine Microprocessor

New Cell Broadband Engine Software Development Kit Offers Programmers Open Access to Broad Array of Components, Services, Resources

ARMONK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- November 9, 2005 -- IBM, Sony and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (Sony and SCE together referred to as "Sony Group") today announced the release of new software components and documentation -- including extensions to Linux™ that support Cell programming -- for the groundbreaking Cell Broadband Engine Architecture (CBEA) technology. These resources are available on developerWorks (, IBM's forum for developers, and through the University of Barcelona Supercomputing Center.

"With this software and documentation, IBM, along with Sony Group and Toshiba, are providing the means to explore as yet undiscovered uses for the Cell Broadband Engine through developing value-add software applications," said Jim Kahle, IBM Fellow. "Our joint commitment to open and early access to these technologies will continue the growth of a robust programming community able to fully exploit the amazing capabilities of the Cell Broadband Engine Architecture."

The following Linux operating system, compilers, and utilities are now available that provide software fundamental infrastructure for the Cell Broadband Engine (CBE) microprocessor.

--  Linux for CBEA -- IBM is distributing source patches for the Linux
    operating system that provide services needed to support the hardware
    facilities of the Cell Broadband Engine microprocessor. These Linux
    operating system patches include the run-time programming interfaces needed
    to manage and utilize the Cell's synergistic processing elements (SPE's).
    The CBE Linux Reference Implementation Application Binary Interface
    Specification, V1.0 has been published simultaneously.
--  gcc and binutils for the Synergistic Processing Elements --
    Distributed by the Sony Group, this code contains the GNU Compiler
    Collection (gcc) compiler for the SPE implemented by Sony Computer
    Entertainment, which also supports the standards defined in the SPU C/C++
    Language Extensions V2.0, SPU Application Binary Interface Specification
    V1.3, and Synergistic Processor Unit (SPU) Instruction Set Architecture
    V1.0 documents previously released.
The Cell Broadband Engine (CBE) Software Development Kit enables developers to explore the capabilities of the CBEA technology using the following software and documents:
--  IBM Full System Simulator for the CBE Processor -- The IBM Full System
    Simulator executable provides a rich set of capabilities for architecture
    simulation of the CBE processor. The extensive set of simulation services
    available are capable of booting and running an operating system as well as
    applications targeted to the CBE processor. This is the very same simulator
    used by Sony, Toshiba, and IBM to evaluate the architecture design point
    and prepare a full execution stack for trial runs on the first CBE
--  IBM CBE Software Sample and Library -- This component provides a broad
    variety of samples and optimized libraries that can be utilized by the
    programming community to better understand how to develop applications for
    CBE technology. These libraries are being released under an open-source
    license to maximize the value to the programming community. A tutorial and
    library documentations are also available in the package.
--  IBM XL C Alpha Edition for the CBE Processor -- This prototype
    compiler executable is based on IBM's world-class compilation technology
    for Power Architecture™ providing similar advantages for CBE processors.
    This compiler supports a tuned implementation for the PPE and SPE of the
    CBE processor and implements the standards defined in the SPU C/C++
    Language Extensions V2.0, SPU Application Binary Interface Specification
    V1.3, and Synergistic Processor Unit (SPU) Instruction Set Architecture
    V1.0 documents previously released.
--  Cell Broadband Engine SPE Management Library: This programming library
    provides a thread abstraction model on "Linux for CBEA" for application use
    and management of the Cell Broadband Engine SPEs. This library is being
    released by IBM under an open-source license to maximize the value to the
    programming community.
"This joint effort by IBM, Toshiba and the Sony Group to build the Cell development infrastructure is an important step into the future," said Masakazu Suzuoki, deputy senior vice president, Semiconductor Development Division, SCEI. "I believe that it will also strongly support the PlayStation as well as the digital consumer electronics businesses."

By opening up a wide set of technical specifications to software developers, Business Partners, academic and research organizations, and potential customers, IBM, Sony Group and Toshiba continue their work to aggressively stimulate the creation of applications for CBEA technology. The goal: establish a thriving community of interest and innovation around the Cell Broadband Engine Architecture technology, allowing all interested parties to rapidly evaluate and utilize the unique capabilities of CBEA technology. IBM has also launched a new section on alphaWorks focused on these new technologies. The alphaWorks Web site ( is a strategic initiative that has enabled IBM to reach a broader range of early software developers and get its offerings to market faster.

About IBM

IBM develops, manufactures and markets state-of-the-art semiconductor and interconnect technologies, products and services including industry-leading Power Architecture microprocessors. IBM semiconductors are a major contributor to the company's position as the world's largest information technology company. Its chip products and solutions power IBM eServer and TotalStorage systems as well as many of the world's best-known electronics brands. IBM semiconductor innovations include dual-core microprocessors, copper wiring, silicon-on-insulator and silicon germanium transistors, strained silicon, and eFUSE, a technology that enables computer chips to automatically respond to changing conditions. More information is available at:

IBM, eServer, Power Architecture and TotalStorage are trademarks or registered trademarks in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, or both.

About Sony Corporation

Sony Corporation is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, game, communications, key device and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, computer entertainment and on-line businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be the leading personal broadband entertainment company in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of approximately $72 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2004. Sony Global Web Site:

About Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

Recognized as the global leader and company responsible for the progression of consumer-based computer entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) manufacturers, distributes and markets the PlayStation® game console, the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and the PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) handheld entertainment system. PlayStation has revolutionized home entertainment by introducing advanced 3D graphic processing, and PlayStation 2 further enhances the PlayStation legacy as the core of home networked entertainment. PSP is a new portable entertainment system that allows users to enjoy 3D games, with high-quality full-motion video, and high-fidelity stereo audio. SCEI, along with its subsidiary divisions Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd., and Sony Computer Entertainment Korea Inc. develops, publishes, markets and distributes software, and manages the third party licensing programs for these platforms in the respective markets worldwide. Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. is an independent business unit of the Sony Group.

Contact Information

  • Contacts:

    Bruce McConnel (in New York)

    Sony Corporation
    Corporate Communications (in Tokyo)
    Phone: 03-5448-2200

    Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
    Corporate Communications (in Tokyo)
    Phone: 03-6438-8686