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OpenCL spec is almost out the door

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  • OpenCL spec is almost out the door

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    OpenCL spec is almost out the door
    by Cyril Kowaliski — 4:43 PM on November 21, 2008
    The Khronos group may release the completed OpenCL specification in about a month, according to a report by MacWorld. One of the site's editors was at the SC08 high-performance computing conference in Austin, where Intel's Tim Mattson revealed what's going down:
    "The bottom line is, we've defined it technically," Mattson explained. "Now you go through a process where all the companies involved get all their lawyers to pore through and make absolutely sure there's no IP and that all the i's have been dotted and all the t's have been crossed. There's a minimum of 30 days where companies can pore over it and approve it to say that ‘yes, we bless this. It does not expose IP, it does not create any trademark problems, it's okay.' But until that 30-day period is up, and until all of our companies have signed the paperwork saying ‘yes, we bless this,' we cannot release demos, we cannot release the specs."
    Apple announced OpenCL (or the Open Computing Language) in early June, promising the C-based programming interface would allow developers to "efficiently tap the vast gigaflops of computing power currently locked up in the graphics processing unit." Think of OpenCL as an open, royalty-free cousin of Nvidia's CUDA and AMD's Brook+ that's designed to work with all kinds of hardware—even "cheesy integrated graphics" and x86 microprocessors, Mattson says. The OpenCL working group includes AMD, Nvidia, and Intel.
    Khronos president (and Nvidia VP) Neil Trevett points out that the spec was completed in record time: "If you go to some other larger standards bodies, it's quite normal for a standard to take five years or more . . . Our record was 12 months, up to now; we've done this one in six." Reportedly, the OpenCL team worked overtime so the spec would be ready for Apple's upcoming Mac OS X "Snow Leopard" operating system.

  • #2
    I've been reading about this, and is actually a very interesting way to code for the paralellizing potential of unleasing the processing power of GPUs. I wonder, however, how could OpenCL be implemented on open platforms... Would there be an implementation of OpenCL like Mesa is an OpenGL implementation, so that open drivers can make use of it?


    • #3
      Keep in mind that openCL is not limited to use only on GPU's. It can also be used on CPU's as well., thus why intel supported it with the hopes of utilizing it with Larabee. There should be no reason why opendrivers could not use openCL other then the fact that they would first have to code the appropriate support. You could probably expect to see that in about 2-3 year time given at the slow pace opensource drivers evolve.
      Last edited by deanjo; 11-24-2008, 06:30 PM.


      • #4
        Yes, I'm aware of the fact that Intel is expecting to use it on Larabee... However, just as OpenGL can be rendered on the GPU or pure CPU (depending on drivers, etc) I'd expect that there would be some sort of implementation of OpenCL (like Mesa) to be able to adapt to a broad hardware range... However, I'm not familiar with OpenCL and if it does accept like its brother OpenGL extensions (which are the ones repsonsible for most of the performance edge of the blobs over Mesa drivers, Mesa drivers usually lack the vendor-specific extensions)