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5 months in multi-core – what has changed?


This week found me in Zurich, Switzerland, delivering a talk to researchers. The purpose of my talk and the other talks at this symposium was to share what different companies and researchers are doing to help “solve” the multi-core programming software challenge.

My content was similar to a talk I delivered in Japan earlier this year. The topic of my blog will be a reflection on what, if anything with regard to multi-core has changed in 5 months.

Just for grins, here’s the abstract of the talk:

The state of the art for optimizing and programming for parallelism on multi-core processors is evolving with many programming models being offered as the possible “solution” that software developers should use. Some would argue that there are perhaps too many such solutions being considered and some consolidation should occur. This talk shows the multicore programming technologies both currently available and being evaluated in the Intel® C++ Compiler. We’ll look at some different parallelism methods, such as software transactional memory, OpenMP 3.0, array notations and offer insight into what is guiding development of each.

Probably the most interesting change for my talk in the last five months has been the announcement of the Intel Parallel Studio. The toolkit is comprised of four different tools: Intel Parallel Advisor, Intel Parallel Composer, Intel Parallel Inspector, and Intel Parallel Amplifier.

Of course I work at Intel so I know a few more details on these tools, but cannot share them at this point. However, on the surface, I’m very excited by the Advisor tool which aims to “Gain insight on where parallelism will benefit existing source code.” I believe this is a key area of the multi-core development cycle that has relatively little tools support today. In addition, the tool targets developers who cannot necessarily throw their current implementation away and redesign. This particular theme lines up with my motivation and work with David Stewart on the Multicore Programming Practices working group which targets existing and legacy applications.

I believe other software vendors are developing or are soon to make available tools with similar capabilities. This is good news. The availability of this type of tool can only help programming for multi-core so I’m excited to test drive them as soon as they are available.

On a personal note: Zurich is a beautiful city. One cool portion of my trip was attending Sunday service at the Fraumunster Kirche (building with the large clock tower in the background). Amazing.

date Posted on: Monday, October 27, 2008 at 9:24 pm
Category Uncategorized.
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