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IBM backs OpenCL by releasing a Linux SDK

Beginning of the end for Cuda
Wed Jun 30 2010, 17:36

MAINFRAME VENDOR IBM has released a Linux development kit for the Open Computing Language OpenCL.

The language, is seen as vendor agnostic solution to parallel coding languages such as Nvidia's Cuda. Even IBM claims that the language "greatly improves speed and responsiveness for a wide spectrum of applications in numerous market categories from gaming and entertainment to scientific and medical software." In IBM's case, it's less of the gaming and more towards the scientific research aspect.

The software development kit (SDK) is for deployment of OpenCL applications on its Power architecture hardware running Linux. The SDK implements OpenCL 1.0 and has been tested on a number of IBM's mid-range server kit running Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

While Nvidia might have been making headway with its Cuda compilers, even it has pledged support for OpenCL. The last few generations of AMD graphics cards have supported OpenCL and the language can be run on other massively parallel chips such as the Cell.

Big Blue's OpenCL SDK could mark a turning point in such languages as Nvidia grapples with heat issues in its Tesla equipped servers. Given that IBM has a somewhat stronger lineage in servers, its backing of OpenCL could spell the beginning of the end for Cuda. µ


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