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AMD joins The Document Foundation to push GPU acceleration in Libre Office

Preparing software support ahead of Kaveri
Thu Jul 04 2013, 11:34
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CHIP DESIGNER AMD has joined The Document Foundation advisory board, and will develop GPU acceleration for Libre Office applications.

The Document Foundation is the organisation that oversees Libre Office, a free, open source alternative to the Microsoft Office suite of applications. AMD has joined its advisory board and The Document Foundation announced that future versions of Libre Office will use GPU acceleration through OpenCL.

AMD joins an already star-studded advisory board at The Document Foundation, which includes Google, Red Hat, Suse, Intel and the Free Software Foundation. The firm is clearly there to promote GPU support in what is the default office suite in just about every Linux distribution. With AMD's support, in particular with Calc and Impress, Libre Office will finally have the chance to achieve a unique selling point over Microsoft's Excel and Powerpoint, respectively.

Manju Hegde, corporate VP of Heterogeneous Solutions at AMD said, "It is great to work on Libreoffice with The Document Foundation to expose the raw power of AMD GPUs and APUs, initially to spreadsheet users.

"Bringing the parallelism and performance of our technology to traditional, mainstream business software users will be a welcome innovation for heavy duty spreadsheet users, particularly when combined with the compute capabilities of the upcoming generation of AMD Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) based products."

AMD needs software support to make its accelerated processing units (APUs) that combine CPU and GPU cores on the same piece of silicon successful. Later this year the firm will introduce its first HSA chip that will support GPU access to main memory, enabling applications such as spreadsheets to work on gigabytes of data and use the GPU to speed complex calculations.

The Document Foundation didn't say when Libre Office will begin to support GPU acceleration, but with AMD's cheerleading and coding help it shouldn't be long before some features start using it. µ


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