Heading home…

I’m headed out from London in about an hour, and it’s been a nice trip overall. Very productive meetings, enjoyable conversations and dinners, and of course being away from one’s habits is always a pleasant change.
London is all a-flutter right now about Prince Charles’ announcement to wed Camilla Parker Bowles: whether she will be queen, where and when it will happen, etc. It’s all that is on my TV right now, including on CNNi.
Frankly it reminds me of how nice it’s been to NOT be paying much attention to the news. When I’m in the US it is almost all I listen to or watch, and although I appreciate being informed and feel that it’s my responsibility, it does definitely increase my stress level. Especially in the US, as I disagree with so much that our government is doing.
Being more relaxed here I’m sure also has to do with the fact that I’m not surrounded by a thousand possible projects or household tasks to do, that I haven’t been driving through crazy traffic to reach work, and that I’ve been spending all my time with friends from work and from England.
The CELL chip announcements from ISSCC this week have gone well. Just to keep you up to date, the CELL chip is the processor that the next-gen PlayStation will be based on. This past week some details of the chip were announced, including that it has a Power Architecture core, the first CELL design has 8 SPU’s (basically auxiliary vector processing units that can execute independently), and the processor has been tested in the lab up to 4.66Ghz. So it’s quite a beast of a chip, really.
Of course, it also brings some programming challenges, but the good news is that the entire industry is moving toward parallel processing, so at least it isn’t just us at Sony. We all have to get used to the idea of using semaphores and mutexes, splitting up our algorithms into multiple threads, dealing with communication issues, and so on. This is the big challenge of moving forward onto the next generation of consoles.
Of course, if the Power processor core is running at 4.66 Ghz, you can probably get away without using much of the SPUs on your first-generation title. It’ll still be, oh, a 5x performance increase over PS2. Theeeeoretically. 🙂
Well, guess I better pack up. See you all back in the States!