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AMD ropes in University of Illinois to push GPGPU development to students

Stick to OpenCL, not Cuda
Tue Jan 17 2012, 17:26

CHIP DESIGNER AMD has enlisted the help of the University of Illinois to encourage students to develop code that makes use of the GPGPU found in its Fusion processors.

AMD's Llano Fusion processor was launched last year as a mid-range notebook chip that could punch above its weight due to the on-chip GPGPU. Applications that make use of OpenCL can enjoy significantly better performance than just using the Llano CPU core, and one of the ways to increase the number of applications that use the GPU is to teach university students to write the code that uses it.

The University of Illinois' course entitled "Engineering Entrepreneurship AMD section" will instruct students to develop projects that will be evaluated for funding through AMD's Fusion Fund and Illinois Ventures. AMD is hoping that its course will get students thinking up ways to use its Fusion processors in applications that will appeal to consumers.

Courses that are designed by companies should be met with caution, just look at the UK's IT education system that focuses on training up Microsoft Office graduates. However getting computer science and engineering students to make use of GPUs with their code and using open industry standards such as OpenCL is a goal that merits a course for a semester or two.

AMD needs more applications to make use of its GPU in order to up-sell its Fusion processors. GPGPUs are commonly used in research due to their relatively low cost and high performance, but AMD needs more consumer oriented applications to appear if it is to differentiate itself from Intel's highly regarded mobile chips. µ


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