A student never got to ask this on Wednesday.  Ergo, in my email inbox.
Feel free to delete if you are not interested, or save it for after the
end of the semester.  Has to do with the microprocessor inside the PlayStation
3.  It is called cell processor, and was designed here in Austin by IBM.

        I believe the Sony Play Station 3 Cell processors have different 
        "kinds of cores" on the chip. What I mean is that the PS3 has seven 
        Synthetic Processing Units as they call them. 

Actually they call them Synergistic Processing Units and there are 8 of them.

        One is a sound processor, one is a
        something else, and the others are more something elses - I don't 
        their functions anymore, but each SPU has a specific function.

Actually, all 8 are identical.

There is in addition a 9th processor on the chip that is different from
the 8 identical SPEs.  It is a Power-PC processor.  That is, it has the same
ISA as the processor that Apple used to use in the MAC.

        So is this the technology you are currently working on, 
        or do you call it something else? 

Yes, I am doing some work with this paradigm.

        Having cores dedicated to specific tasks makes programming
        easier doesn't it? But also wastes processing power if any of those
        cores/units are not in use at any particular time.

...unless they can be powered off when not in use.  I call such a processor
a Refrigerator in honor of William Perry of the Chicago Bears who sat on the
bench (powered off) when the Bears were not on the one yard line.

We will talk about it in 382N (maybe even 360N, we'll see).  But first 
you need to pass 306.  Good luck.

        Have a great weekend!
        <<name withheld to protect the student who had better start studying>>

You, too.
Yale Patt