OpenCL

December 27, 2008

GigaOM concisely explains the what, why and how of OpenCL.

OpenCL is a programming framework that allows software to run on both the CPU and the graphics processor of the computer. This means programs will run faster and offer more performance on a machine’s existing hardware

Nividia pushed CUDA for scientific computing while AMD tried to push Close to the Metal (now Stream). But as sending tasks to the GPU became easier, the software and hardware providers realized an open standard that wasn’t linked to a particular chip vendor would be the best option. So earlier this year Apple offered OpenCL to the Khronos Group, a standards-setting organization, and Intel, Nvidia and AMD joined forces to create a standard that would work on multiple chips.

The standard was released 12/9, and of course will be supported in OSX Snow Leopard, which some say will be ready ahead of schedule in Q1 09 (hear that MS?).

My question is, does Apple do this already (using proprietary libraries) in iPhone and AppleTV? or will they do a software upgrade soon which is, in effect, a hardware upgrade?

OK, another question: Where is MS in all this now that Intel, AMD and Nvidia are behind it?  Will they come up with their own proprietary extensions just for PR reasons (instead of leveraging their partners’ work)?

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