Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., IBM and Toshiba Join to Develop "supercomputer-on-a-chip" for the Broadband Era

Three Companies to Establish a Joint Development Center in Austin, Texas, USA

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TOKYO - 12 Mar 2001: Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI), IBM Corporation (IBM) and Toshiba Corporation (Toshiba) announced today plans to research and develop an advanced chip architecture for a new wave of devices in the emerging broadband era.

Combining SCEI's vision and strong leadership in the computer entertainment world, IBM's unparalleled computer and semiconductor technologies and Toshiba's extensive capabilities in system LSI (large-scale integration), especially for consumer applications, the companies will collectively invest more than $400 million in the next five years to design a "supercomputer-on-a-chip."

Under the agreement, the three companies will establish a joint development center within an IBM facility in Austin, Texas. At its peak, the center will be staffed with nearly 300 skilled computer architects and chip designers dedicated to the development project.

Code-named "Cell," the new microchips will employ the world's most advanced research technologies and chip-making techniques, including copper wires, silicon-on-insulator (SOI) transistors and low-K dielectric insulation, with features smaller than 0.10 microns -- 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. The result will be consumer devices that are more powerful than IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer, operate at low power and access the broadband Internet at ultra high speeds. Cell will be designed to deliver "teraflops" of processing power.

Under the agreement, SCEI, IBM and Toshiba will each manufacture the product for a variety of consumer applications.

"The processor platform that people have only been able to imagine is now going to become a reality," said Ken Kutaragi, president and CEO of SCEI. "The new broadband processor, code-named Cell, that we are going to create, will raise the curtain on a new era in high-speed, network-based computing. With built-in broadband connectivity, microprocessors that currently exist as individual islands will be more closely linked, making a network of systems act more as one, unified 'supersystem.' Just as biological cells in the body unite to form complete physical systems, Cell-based electronic products of all types will form the building blocks of larger systems. SCEI, IBM and Toshiba are mapping out the future of broadband computing."

"We're defining the next era of computing, providing the technology that will bring computer intelligence and network access to a wide array of consumer electronics," said Dr. John Kelly, senior vice president and group executive for the IBM Technology Group. "As a result, IBM's advanced chip technologies are in more demand than ever. We expect a considerable portion of our new, state-of-the-art 300 mm wafer manufacturing facility in Fishkill, N.Y. to be dedicated to this product."

Yasuo Morimoto, company president and CEO of Toshiba Corporation's Semiconductor Company said, "We are very excited by this opportunity to bring all the expertise and leading-edge technologies we have gained in the development of a wide range of system LSIs for consumer applications and to contribute to this next-generation solution. We believe that bringing our highly sophisticated system LSI technology together in cooperation with IBM and SCEI will allow us to create the innovative microprocessor required by the fast-emerging market in broadband networks, and help us establish a leading position in the future digital consumer market."

The expansion of ultra high-speed broadband networks, coupled with advancements in semiconductor technology, is making possible a whole new range of products and services that use the Internet as a source of entertainment, information and communication. These new chips from SCEI, IBM and Toshiba will enable global communication through the broadband network.