Thanks to MIT, you can now learn how to program your PS3, and any other Cell Processor based gadget. Prof. Saman Amarasinghe and Dr. Rodric Rabbah have put together a wonderful free course on Multicore Programming using the PS3’s Cell Processor. Course 6.189, Multicore Programming Primer: Learn and Compete in Programming the PLAYSTATION®3 Cell Processor can be attended online here.
The course will briefly cover the history of the microprocessor evolution, and discuss the reasons for the recent shift in architecture design toward multicores. Students will become familiar with the Cell processor that powers the PLAYSTATION®3, and how its design choices compare to other emerging architectures.
Students will also learn different programming models for parallel architectures. There will be small hands-on labs to experiment and understand the pros and cons of these different programming models, with an emphasis on stream-based computing. Student will also learn StreamIt, a new, simple, and natural to understand programming language for stream computing developed at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). The course will explore broader implications of the stream programming model to various kinds of traditional parallelization technology.
Students will participate in a course long project that can impact one of several domains that include gaming engines, media applications, algorithms for molecular dynamics, and protein folding challenge problems. Students are expected to participate in small project teams. Course projects will be evaluated based on their performance, complexity, and completeness. Students will compete for exciting prizes to be awarded to the best project as selected by a panel of judges.