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Intel juices parallel programming for the masses

Affinity for threads

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OSCON A year after open sourcing its cross-platform Threaded Building Blocks (TBB), Intel has released what it called a "significant" upgrade to is parallel programming template library.

Intel used the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) to announce TBB 2.1, with improvements for building - among other things - graphical user interfaces, applications using artificial intelligence, and network I/O.

TBB, for Windows, OS X and Linux, simplifies development of parallelism for C++ 32- and 64-bit applications. That's important for Intel, rolling out multi-core chips. According to Intel, TBB "abstracts platform details and threading mechanism for performance and scalability."

Among the changes in TBB 2.1, there's an "affinity partitioner" class to implement soft task-to-thread affinity while Intel claimed a four-fold improvement in OpenMP static scheduling for cases over its inaugural version of TBB. Tasks can be canceled and threads can be created for the GUI, I/O or network interface that are independent of the TBB task-scheduler worker threads. Thread checking and profiling has been improved to reduce false positives.

For the Windows crowd, there's also a TBB plug in to Microsoft's Visual Studio integrated development environment. You can see the full list of features here.

TBB 2.1 is available under the GPLv2 and comes in free and commercial editions.®

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