CodeSourcery Offers Cell-based Developer Kit

CodeSourcery is the latest company to partner with IBM to support the Cell Broadband Engine (Cell/B.E.) microprocessor by offering Cell support for its Sourcery VSIPL++ signal- and image-processing (SIP) toolkit.

VSIPL stands for Vector Signal and Image Processing Library. It’s a C++ library that works with IBM’s software development kit for building Cell-based applications. The library is used to make it easy to develop high performance signal and image processing applications at a high level and spare the programmers the difficult task of having to write such difficult routines.

Jules Bergmann, leader of the high performance computing group at CodeSourcery, said the Cell chip really raises the bar in performance, with over 200 GFlops , compared with around 12 GFlops for an Intel  or PowerPC chip. “So it raises the level of performance almost by an order of magnitude,” he told

The Cell chip is a high-performance multi core chip developed by IBM for Sony’s PlayStation 3 console. It was derived from its Power process but it has been highly tuned for videogame play. There has been considerable interest in the Cell processor beyond the PS3, including a developer conference.

Sourcery VSIPL++’s compact code can allow for fast syntax and processing in just eight lines of C++ and no Cell-specific code at all. “From a developer’s point of view, if you have a library that goes fast, that’s one less thing to worry about writing,” said Bergmann. “A lot of the work is in these building block routines.”

The library specializes in digital and signal processing and will be used in applications such as radar signal processing, medical imaging, image processing applications, communications and radio.

In medical image processing, using the Cell chip can mean real time processing of data they strive for. “The sooner you can turn an MRI around. potentially you can use them for some real time diagnostics. It can also increase the resolution for an MRI. The fact you can process it 10 times faster, that gives you the option of getting the image quicker or higher resolution,” said Bergmann.

The Sourcery VSIPL++ toolkit will be available in mid-2008.

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