Feeds

ARM exec counsels massively parallel patience

His chips may drive your car. Eventually

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Fusion Summit Don't expect parallel-processing power to invigorate consumer devices for a few more years. But when it does, it may save your child's life – or at least protect you from a nasty lawsuit.

OpenCL, which enables a GPU to share processing chores with a CPU, will be slow to affect the consumer market, seeing as how OpenCL-capable SoCs (system-on-chip processors) are only starting to wend their way to the development labs of device manufacturers.

"The perils of the IP business world means that you produce some IP, you sell it to a certain partner, he makes a chip, he sells the chip to a partner, and yadda-yadda-yadda," ARM Fellow and vice president of technology Jem Davies explains. "It takes a couple of years."

Davies' call for patience came during a causal tête-à-tête with reporters at AMD's Fusion Developer Summit this week, after his keynote presentation expressing solidarity with AMD in the two companies' commitment to a massively parallel future.

Due to the IP business' time-consuming yadda-yadda-yadda, Davies explains, it's going to be a few more years before we see "properly" OpenCL-capable devices employing ARM-based chips.

"I think you know what I mean by 'proper'," Davies said, "compared to some of the sort of skimpy implemetations we see at the moment."

Although it will take a couple of years until those "proper" devices appear, Davies says, there's a good deal of prototyping now going on among embedded-device manufacturers and developers.

Image-processing applications, Davies contends, will be one of the first widespread implementations of OpenCL-on-ARM, due to to the fact that image-processing algorthms are "a fertile ground for parallelism."

Davies wasn't merely talking about red-eye reduction or facial-recognition in images taken by cheesy smartphone and tablet cameras. His sights are set higher – augmented reality is one "obvious case," he suggests.

Of more interest to Davies, however, is an application area with an even longer development cycle than consumer electronic devices: automotive management and control.

Among the image-processing applications that the automotive industry is looking at are white-line detection for "lane-departure detection", and the use of cameras to measure the distance between vehicles.

"Obviously, you can detect if you're about to run into the car in front of you with radar," he says, "but that's expensive. If you can just do it with a camera, that's cheaper."

He also notes that there's "quite interesting" work being done on detecting sudden, right-angle intrusions into a car's path, such as a kid running out into the street in front of your two tons of steel.

But such lifesavers – and other, more mundane smartphone and tablet apps – will take a while to appear. The tipping point that should inspire an explosion of OpenCL-based consumer app development, Davies says, will be – you guessed it – OpenCL-capable consumer devices.

"Once you put a billion devices a year in the hands of consumers and developers," he says, "suddenly people are going to start saying 'Ooo! I think I'm going to do this'."

Reluctantly reaching into his bag of clichés, Davies summed up: "Really, I hate to use this phrase, but build it and they will come." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Intel's LAME DUCK mobile chips gobbled by CASH COW
Chipzilla won't have money-losing mobe unit to kick about anymore
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
... when you close the slidey doors, that is ...
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.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
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.