AMD beta seeks CPU-GPU harmony
Hails 'game-changing' OpenCL
AMD has released a free update to its ATI Stream SDK that offers OpenCL support for CPUs, taking the power of that parallel-processing technology one step closer to true usability.
And if you're worried that the company is stepping off the open-standards reservation by doing so, fear not: AMD has submitted the appropriate conformance logs to the consortium managing the OpenCL standard, the Khronos Group, for certification.
OpenCL was described by the Khronos Group when version 1.0 was released last December as "the first open, royalty-free standard for cross-platform, parallel programming of modern processors found in personal computers, servers and handheld/embedded devices."
In a nutshell, OpenCL divides workloads among CPU and GPU cores, accelerating tasks by divvying up processes among the cores, offloading such parallel-data tasks as media, video, audio, and graphics processing that would otherwise be handled by the CPU onto the broad parallel-processing shoulders of a modern GPU.
In a Wednesday announcement, AMD claims that the OpenCL for CPU beta download will make it easier for developers participating in the ATI Stream SDK 2.0 Beta Program to leverage the untapped oomph of multicore x86 CPUs.
In canned statement, AMD SVP Rick Bergman said: "By supporting multi-core CPUs and GPUs with our OpenCL environment, AMD gives developers easy access to both processing resources, so they can efficiently write cross-platform applications for heterogeneous architectures with a single programming interface."
Bergman has a point. Until Intel releases its many-core Larrabee processor in the first half of next year, AMD is the only company that can toss a homegrown OpenCL net over both x86 CPUs and GPUs from its own stable.
Patricia Harrell, AMD's director of Stream Computing, blogs that OpenCL is a "game-changing development." That may not be an overstatement. There's a boatload of underutilized power in most GPU implementations and getting it to work in concert with a CPU - as OpenCL aims to do - could enable such as-yet-unrealized computational dreams as real-time ray-tracing and infallible voice recognition.
All well and good, but our experience with OpenCL has shown it to be a bear to program with. Perhaps AMD's new OpenCL for CPU beta will lessen the hassle of OpenCL coding and make the marriage of CPUs and GPUs a happier one.
A more-definite answer to that question will have to wait until the AMD takes the next ATI Stream SDK out of beta, which is planned for later this year. ®
@ac - 10:58
The biggest "looser", eh?
Well if you were one of the sharper minds, the biggest "looser" must have been a right dunce!
Bergman does not have a point.
"Until Intel releases its many-core Larrabee processor in the first half of next year, AMD is the only company that can toss a homegrown OpenCL net over both x86 CPUs and GPUs from its own stable."
No serious deployment is going to happen within 6 months. Beyond that timescale, Larrabee will have arrived and developers will have the choice. My guess is that they'll prefer the programming model offered by a stripped down CPU over that of a beefed up GPU.
Having said that, Intel to date have pretty much promised to screw Larrabee's chances by offering it only on graphics adapters rather than on the motherboard. It's all for Intel to lose and so far they look like pulling it off.
all well and good, but it doesnt help the UVD Asic use
"In canned statement, AMD SVP Rick Bergman said: "By supporting multi-core CPUs and GPUs with our OpenCL environment, AMD gives developers easy access to both processing resources, so they can efficiently write cross-platform applications for heterogeneous architectures with a single programming interface."
thats all well and good Rick, but it doesnt help unilise the genric hardware assisted UVD Asic AVC,VC-1,(and to a lesser degree HD mpeg2) video playback and editing use as found in all current AMD/ATI Gfx cards does it, your so FAR behind Nvidia'a CUDA ASIC and their masive 3rd party developers code drops its not funny....and hasnt been for well over a year now....
It would be nice if Khronos certification meant that some great minds in some top companies had pooled their collective wisdom to produce a reasoned and intelligent standard. At the *major* semiconductor company where I worked, however, we made the biggest looser in the team our Khronos representative as nobody else wanted the job. A brain dead tadpole would have been more credible than him in the role.
The true maverick always travels with a deck of aces
"A true maverick startup will eventually turn up and revolutionize the computer industry. And then there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth among the old guard." .... By Louis Savain Posted Wednesday 5th August 2009 20:32 GMT
How very true, Louis, and in an instant become the richest and most powerful Human Being on the Planet, although their Presence, for there are bound to be more than just the One, will in All Likelihood be Maintained and Represented and Guarded Virtually, for Obvious InterNetional Security Reasons. Hell, who wants to be a prisoner like Bill or Warren or Larry or George or Paul or whoever, hiding away like thieves because of the public's wealth they have gamed/milked..... for earning it is not how it works in IT, is it? IT is All Smoke and Mirrors and the Beta Management of Perception with the Realisation of a More Powerfully Controlled Viable Imagination with the Ubiquitous World Wide Web Internet GUI for the Browser Inputting of Output Source to Countless Communicating CPU OSSystems.