Sony PS3 Cluster (IBM Cell BE)
⇔ 8+1 nodes, ppc64 FC5 w/ CellSDK

Official Annoucement of PS3 Cluster
NPR story on PS3 clusters from "All things considered", Feb 21, 2009 (local copy)


  • 8+1 nodes
  • IBM CellBE
    • one 2-way SMT PowerPC core (PPE), 3.2GHz, 32kB L1-I cache, 32kB L1-D cache, 512kB locking L2 cache, 256MB XDR DRAM
    • six SPEs (seventh is used by Sony virtualization software, eigth is hardware disabled in Sony PS3 version of CellBE), each at 3.2GHz w/ VMX vector unit, 128 SIMD GPRs, 256kB SRAM
    • 218 GFLOPS of total floating point performance (for 8 SPEs, that is)
    • 25.6GB/sec memory bandwidth (per interface to SPEs and XDR RAM)
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 20/60/120GB harddrive
  • full specs
  • operational since January 3, 2007


All software is 64 bit unless marked otherwise.


Notice that Linux is running on top of a virtualization layer provided by Sony. This layer is not open source. It shields many devices but should not affect performance on the processors. It may affect performance of the network and disk devices (unknown).


  • Request a user id from Frank Mueller (server "optout" for cluster, server "opt" for research workstation). Please indicate your unity ID and student ID.
    Accounts on opt use your unity ID but do not share any unity file space.
  • Install ~/.ssh/config on your local Linux machine. If you're not using Linux, skip this step.
  • On Linux, ssh into any psXX machine (XX=00..07).
    ssh <your-username›@psXX
    Your initial password is your student ID.

    On windows, use your favorite ssh client to log in to, port 22XX (XX=00..07). There may be a way to create aliases as well, check the manual of you ssh client.

    For research workstation (only upon special request), use:

    ssh <your-username›
  • Please change your password.
    The new password will be effective immediately.

Using OpenMP

Interactively running MPI programs

User-level MPD

If mpdtrace is not working, then you have not started your MPD ring yet. Follow the steps below.

Known Problems

Please let us know if you have solutions to these problems.

More Information on the PS3


Additional references: