Stream processors have been extensively studied in academia by projects such as Stanford Imagine and MIT RAW. They made their commercial debut with the Cell, a broadband processor from IBM that is the computing engine for the Sony PlayStation 3. The cellular telephony market has experienced rapid growth around the world and represents a significant opportunity for stream processors because this domain requires very high computation rates to reduce the bit error rate and to support high data rates, full motion video and multimedia applications, and a variety of wireless standards. Simultaneously, they must also be energy efficient and flexible, have a low time to market, and be low cost.
This article starts by providing an overview of the fundamental concepts behind stream processors, their applications to perception, media, wireless and scientific workloads, major research projects etc. It will elaborate on the nature of 3G and 4G wireless algorithms, architectural approaches to optimize these algorithms as well as commercial processors that have been optimized for the wireless domain.