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GP-GPUs: OpenCL Is Ready For The Heavy Lifting

Mar 12, 2010, 13:32 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Douglas Eadline)

[ Thanks to An Anonymous Reader for this link. ]

"In a previous column, I bemoaned the state of HPC Software. This column was actually a prelude to my column on nVidia CUDA computing. I was particularly impressed at how fast CUDA has gained traction in HPC and other areas. The CUDA wave has definitely hit the beach and I'll have more on nVidia as the Fermi GPU begins to filter into the HPC trenches. In this column I want to talk about the other GPU language: OpenCL.

"Before I launch into OpenCL background, I want make a prediction. I believe OpenCL will gain acceptance in much the same way nVidia CUDA has. Like CUDA, OpenCL has a freely available SDK (Software Development Kit), is based on the C language, and can be explored using low cost video hardware. OpenCL brings two other features to the table, however. These are open standard compliance and support for data-parallelism (GP-GPU) and task-parallelism (CPU) methods. I'll take a closer look at these below, but first some background will be helpful."

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