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Researchers Could Save Thousands ­sing Xbox's Parallel Processing Capabilities

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Simon Scarle of the University of Warwick's WMG Digital Laboratory

Simon Scarle's experience as a software engineer in the computer games industry made him aware of the parallel processing power of the XBox 360.

Credit: University of Warwick

University of Warwick researcher Simon Scarle has demonstrated that an Xbox 360 chip could replace parallel processing hardware for a fraction of the cost. Scarle's original goal was to predict the emergence of cardiac arrhythmias by charting how electricity moves in cardiac cell models. However, although his study demonstrated that it was impossible to predict the rise of some arrhythmias, it was a breakthrough in parallel computing.

With some adaptation of its code, the Xbox chip could provide researchers with the scientific modeling capabilities of an entire network of personal computers. Not only will Scarle's discovery help researchers cut their costs, the Xbox chip works more quickly than a traditional parallel processing computer.

"Although major reworking of any previous code framework is required, the Xbox 360 is a very easy platform to develop for and this cost can easily be outweighed by the benefits in gained computational power and speed, as well as the relative ease of visualization of the system," Scarle says.

From University of Warwick
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