Haifux, Haifa Linux Club: Compiling Effectively for Cell with GCC

Revital Eres (IBM HRL)
Monday, 1.6.2009, 18:30
Taub 6

In this talk I describe several techniques that we developed to support the generation of high quality code for the Cell Broadband Engine, addressing some of its key challenges and advantages. The architecture of the Cell Broadband Engine developed jointly by Sony, Toshiba, and IBM, represents a new direction in processor design. In addition to a PowerPC-compatible Power Processor Element (PPE) the Cell architecture features an array of eight Synergistic Processor Elements (SPEs) supporting a new SIMD instruction set. Each SPE consists of a Synergistic Processor Unit (SPU) and a memory-flow controller (MFC).

Load and store instructions of an SPE access a local store of 256KB private to the SPE. The SPE instruction text itself must reside within its local store as well. DMA operations provided by the MFC enable the SPE to copy data between its local store and main storage. Applications making optimal use of the Cell architecture will comprise of both PPE and SPE components, requiring tool-chain support for working with two different instruction set architectures and ABIs in an integrated fashion.

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