For years, Sony and IBM have talked up the power of the Cell processor that's at the core of of every PS3. Now, some University of Illinois researchers are working on finally unlocking that power for the next generation of highly parallel supercomputers.

The Illinois News-Gazette has a report on the efforts of user interface experts Marc Snir, Laxmikant Kale and David Kunzman, who say that a computer with a cluster of Cell chips could offer 50 times the performance of a similar sized PC. Squeezing out that performance is no small task, though -- Kale admits "it's going to be a challenge to program it."

Despite the team's inside access to Cell technology and tools, the N-G article ends with a joking complaint that the team members "haven't received a PlayStation 3 yet, either." Hey, if you want one that badly, just go to your local store, guys.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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