During the month of January 2007, undegraduate and graduate students at MIT engaged in an intensive four-week course to learn how to program the Cell processor using off the shelf PS3s. Students gained hands on parallel programming experience for Cell using PS3 consoles running Yellow Dog Linux and the Cell SDK offering from IBM. The course was taught by Prof. Saman Amarasinghe (MIT) and Dr. Rodric Rabbah (IBM).
"The fact that students--with no background in parallel programming or the Cell Broadband Engine--were able to get their projects done from scratch in just about one month largely goes to show the capability and determination of our students, coupled with the availability of a robust toolchain for Cell development," said Amarasinghe.
Students learned about the new Cell microprocessor, and designed and implemented projects to run directly on PS3 consoles running Yellow Dog Linux. There were several projects, three of which are currently highlighted on the course web page along with full source code availability: a ray tracer, a backgammon player, and a model of electrical discharge in electrochemical batteries.