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Open Magazine: High CManship

Feb 11, 2002, 11:56 (46 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Keith Walls, Jack Fegreus)
"The new Intel compiler suite answers a lot of our questions. For the highly technical Open Source development community it does raise a modest issue: This compiler itself is not Open Source. This compiler is the fruit of a great deal of work conducted at the Intel Microcomputer Software Labs, along with two prestigious companies recently acquired by Intel: Kuch and Associates. Nonetheless, the magnitude of the performance differential in numerically intense applications is such that only the most dramatic sort of improvement in the long-awaited version 3 of the GNU C/C++ compilerâ€"a "beta" of v3 is included with the SuSE 7.3 distribution, but gcc v2.95 is installed by defaultâ€"will stay the hammer that drives a stake through the fibrillating heart of the aging technology behind the GNU C compiler. May it rest in peace.

Target specific object code and executable file format notwithstanding, what really makes the Intel compiler so very interesting is the fact that it delivers the same instruction sequences on both Linux and Windows platforms. The differences in performance across the two operating system platforms are thus precisely that: differences in the operating systems. That includes, to some degree, the file formats, as well as the image activation, scheduling and interrupt interference of the individual operating systems. As a result, the new Intel compiler affords a unique opportunity to discover the baseline performance of the raw systems hardware with superbly optimized code, and to discover the relative performance differences between Linux and Windows in terms of the performance they can deliver from the same hardware."

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