Feeds

ARM exec counsels massively parallel patience

His chips may drive your car. Eventually

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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." ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD TO DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Microsoft fitness bands slapped on wrists: All YOUR HEALTH DATA are BELONG TO US
Wearable will deliver 'actionable insights for healthier living'
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
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

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
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.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.