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RapidMind Opts for Open Source and Standards Projects


November 12, 2008

RapidMind Opts for Open Source and Standards Projects

By Raju Shanbhag
TMCnet Contributor


LLVM (Low Level Virtual Machine) Compiler Infrastructure project will now witness an increased level of participation from RapidMind. The company has declared that apart from participating in and adopting the OpenCL (Computing Language) standard, it will also contribute actively to the project.

As the types of processor architectures increase, it is becoming increasingly difficult to generate and optimize machine code for these architectures. LLVM strives to address this problem with a set of open-source libraries and tools that provide a hardware-independent interface to generate and optimize machine code. RapidMind will be supporting LLVM and OpenCL to support the growth of this software ecosystem.
Oftentimes, software developers have to learn new languages or understand the underlying hardware architecture to use a platform. The issues such as load balancing and memory management can get really complex in such situations. But the RapidMind platform allows them to use multi-core CPUs, GPUs and the Cell Broadband Engine without learning any new languages.
In an ideal environment, a software developer will get support for new architectures immediately. But that is not always practical or possible. RapidMind states that the LLVM's existing code base can tackle this problem by allowing much quicker support for new architectures.
“We are excited about the possibility of a non-proprietary standard for a low-level layer interface that targets GPUs from a spectrum of hardware vendors if they choose to support OpenCL. ISVs using RapidMind today gain the benefits of GPU performance, without having to understand the architecture of the underlying hardware," said Ray DePaul, president and CEO of RapidMind. "A single standard makes it easier for us to support multiple hardware platforms, and ultimately expand our base of supported hardware.”
With RapidMind’s increased involvement, the project will now have the advantage of multi-core architectures and parallel software development. The company says it has already contributed a number of improvements back to LLVM as part of its investment in integrating LLVM into the RapidMind platform.
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Raju Shanbhag is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Raju's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart

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