IBM will unlock door to Cell

The three developers of the Cell processor are preparing to release full chip specifications and software libraries in an effort to rally the open-source community around the device that powers the Sony Playstation 3. With the outlook for the multicore chip's use beyond Sony's internal systems cloudy at best, the partners are hoping to spark its uptake in applications ranging from HDTVs to supercomputers.

The IBM Corp. fellow who led the design team said his company currently has no plans to make Cell-based chips for its own systems or for the merchant market. Instead, IBM has set up a team in its engineering services division to help others custom-design versions of Cell that could be made in IBM's fabs.

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