A new paper from a group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, “The Potential of the Cell Processor Scientific Computing” [.pdf], explores the performance of IBM’s Cell processor on some specific types of code commonly found in high-performance computing applications. The paper compare Cell’s performance on these kernels to the performance of the Cray X1E, AMD Opteron, and Intel’s Itanium2. The idea here is that Cell will be a commodity processor (at least that’s what the authors and IBM hope), so it’ll be a viable HPC alternative for the cost-sensitive academic research market. This paper represents the first formal academic attempt to decide if Cell hardware is something that researchers will want to invest in. So how does Cell stack up in comparison to these three competitors? In a word, it screams.