Feeds

AMD beta seeks CPU-GPU harmony

Hails 'game-changing' OpenCL

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD to DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get the parts for HDD models
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
Back to the ... drawing board: 'Hoverboard' will disappoint Marty McFly wannabes
Buzzing board (and some future apps) leave a lot to be desired
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.