Sony Working on Improving Multithreading and Parallel Processing for PS4 and PS3

on April 18, 2014 4:26 PM

Microsoft’s introduction of DirectX 12 has impressed many especially due to the ability to massively improve the multithreading efficiency of the CPU, which will apply to both PCs and Xbox One, but apparently Sony isn’t staying idle, and is working to improve pretty much the same areas on its consoles, as shown by a career opportunity ad seeking a Senior Software Systems Engineer.

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SCEA is currently looking for a highly-talented Systems Engineer to act as an industry expert and leader in systems level development on PlayStation® platforms. This individual should be able to handle various low-level multithreading and SIMD issues and be able to use that knowledge to collaborate with industry-leading developers. If you are driven to do hands-on low-level research on cutting-edge hardware, are well-versed in engine design and architecture and are looking to use your knowledge to drive the industry and make an impact on multiple game titles, then we want to talk to you.

Qualifications

Required Educations / Experience:

  • A minimum of 3 years programming experience in C/C++
  • Experience working on the low-level platform specific layer of a game engine
  • Experience using CPU profiling tools to measure game performance, identify bottlenecks and resolve them
  • Understanding of various game engine optimization algorithms/techniques
  • Understanding of multi-core processors such as SPUs
  • Strong understanding of 3D math
  • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or equivalent
  • Keeps current on the latest trends in multithreading and multi-core programming techniques

Experience with the following a plus:

  • Shipped at least 1 game on current generation platforms
  • Experience implementing real-time algorithms and techniques using hardware features to perform parallel computation
  • Assembly level programming experience on current generation platforms
  • Experience in tool development (asset pipeline, exporters, etc.)
  • Experience working in a support environment
  • Knowledge of SPU coding and optimization
  • Understanding of GPGPU programming and Shaders
  • Low-level understanding of DMA
  • Experience with low level audio systems
  • Experience with asynchronous file systems

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The competences listed are definitely interesting, as they describe a candidate able to have a very solid impact on the performance of games at a very low level, working directly on the engine or even deeper. The goal of improving multithreading (the ability to use all the cores of the CPU efficiently) and SIMD (parallel computation of the same operation on multiple data points) is very similar to the effect that will be achieved by DirectX 12.

What’s interesting is that while the ad definitely indicates application on PS4 due to the mention of GPGPU (General-purpose computing on graphics processing units) and cutting-edge hardware, it seems that the candidate will also work on PS3, which is the only console using SPUs (Synergistic Processing Unit). Looks like Sony’s veteran console hasn’t yet given all it could.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of effect this kind of optimization will bring to PlayStation platforms, even if most probably we won’t even notice. The games will be faster and better, but we won’t know that the improvement will be due to the work of people like the one that will get this job. Engineers are definitely the unsung heroes of the video game industry.

 /  Executive News Editor
Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.
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