Let us return to those thrilling days of yesteryear. Yes, I mean November 2010 when Intel® Parallel Studio XE was first released. This suite of high-performance computing development tools included new versions of the Intel C++ and Fortran compiler products, (now renamed "Composer XE"), and two new analysis tools: Intel® VTune™ Amplifier XE and Intel® Inspector XE. The analysis tools were significantly upgraded versions of Intel® Parallel Amplifier and Intel® Parallel Inspector that had been launched in 2009 for C/C++ on Windows only. The new "XE" tools not only supported Fortran as well, but were now available on Linux for the first time.
Fortran programmers loved the new features of the compiler, but there was some muted grumbling in the background. You see, while it was possible to buy a subset containing C++ and the analysis tools, called Intel® C++ Studio XE, there was no corresponding subset for Fortran-only programmers. Fortran users who also wanted the analysis tools either needed to buy them separately, or purchase the larger Parallel Studio XE product containing a C++ compiler, which, while excellent, might go unused in Fortran-only shops. "Where," you cried, "is our Fortran Studio XE?" Ok, ok. You can put down your pitchforks and Arithmetic IFs – Intel® Fortran Studio XE 2011 is now here for both Linux and Windows!
Intel® Fortran Studio XE 2011 includes the latest versions of Intel® (Visual) Fortran Composer XE (this also includes the Intel® Math Kernel Library), Intel® VTune™ Amplifier XE and Intel® Inspector XE, together at significant savings from buying the tools separately. This corresponds to Intel® Parallel Studio XE 2011 SP1 – we didn't put SP1 on the name of Fortran Studio XE because it's the first release of this combination, and we figured we'd already confused you enough with "Composer". So what's in the box?
Intel® (Visual) Fortran Composer XE
First, of course, is Intel® (Visual) Fortran Composer XE 2011 Update 6. But we've got a special treat or three in here. Normally, you'd expect an Update 6 to be just some minor improvements, including bug fixes, over Update 5, but not this time. Whereas the earlier updates had version 12.0 of the Intel® Fortran Compiler, Update 6 has version 12.1! Yes, it's .1 better! What does this mean for you?
From a programming features perspective, there aren't a lot of new ones in version 12.1. For language standards support, we've added the ability to do an ALLOCATE with a polymorphic SOURCE= keyword. To some of you, that may not seem like much, but many of you who have been playing with the object-oriented features of Fortran 2003 have told us that the lack of this was a serious omission, so now you should be happy. There's also significant run-time performance improvement over version 12.0, especially if you are using the auto-parallel feature. And, of course, the handful (!) of you who have reported problems with the earlier compilers will see that many of your bugs have been fixed.
Windows users, however, have some special added treats. First, we now support coarray programs to run in a distributed mode across a Windows cluster. Not good enough? Ok, for users who don't already have a separate Microsoft Visual Studio* installed, we've upgraded the included Fortran development environment to Visual Studio 2010 Shell! Ok, I see a few more claps for that. Hmm, tough crowd.
So what do you think is the #1 most requested feature from Windows Fortran users in the eight years since Intel® Visual Fortran made its debut? Did I hear "Source Browser?" Yes, that's right! It's baaaack! Now, Visual Studio 2010 users can right click on an identifier and select "Go To Definition", and you'll be taken to the source where that identifier (variable, routine, etc.) is defined, even if it's in a module. "Find All References" is also there. Even better, unlike in the olden days of CVF, you don't have to compile the program first – your sources are automatically scanned in the background while you type.
But wait, there's more! Many of you have been envious of Visual C++ features such as tooltip help for intrinsics, outlining, snippets, etc., and we've added lots of these! I don't have room to go into it all here, but be sure to read the Fortran Composer XE Release Notes
for the full list of features we added. One caveat – these features are available in VS2010 only. If you don't have VS2010, you can install the VS2010 Shell from the full product download.
Intel® (Visual) Fortran Composer XE also includes the latest revision of the Intel® Math Kernel Library (Intel® MKL), which has got to be one of the simplest ways of getting screaming performance out of your applications. Intel® MKL has highly tuned and parallelized libraries for BLAS, LAPACK, ScaLAPACK, FFT, vectorized random number generators and much more, all in a well-supported product with royalty-free redistribution rights.
For more information, visit /en-us/articles/intel-composer-xe/
Intel® VTune™ Amplifier XE
If your knowledge of Intel® VTune™ is more than a year old, you will be surprised at what the latest incarnation, VTune Amplifier XE, has for you. If you have never heard of it before, Intel VTune Amplifier is a fantastic performance analyzer that can help you wring the most performance out of your application. Like before, VTune Amplifier XE can use the performance counters in every Intel processor, but it provides easy-to-use wizards for the most common types of analysis, such as "where is my program spending most of its time?" and "where is my program waiting for thread synchronization?"
With VTune Amplifier XE, it's easy to drill down into your sources to see just what is going on and you can sort and filter results so you see just what you're interested in. Linux users no longer require a Windows system to analyze results, you can use a provided GUI on Linux. As always, Intel VTune Analyzer XE supports Fortran as well as C/C++ and, really, pretty much any language that is link/debug compatible with the Intel compilers. Learn more at /en-us/articles/intel-vtune-amplifier-xe/
Intel® Inspector XE
As the old saying goes, it doesn't matter if you get fast results if they're the wrong results. Intel® Inspector XE, previously available only to C/C++ users, now adds Fortran support. It provides powerful and easy to use correctness checking that works across the whole program. There are three main parts to Intel® Inspector XE.
First there is "memory checking", which looks at your running program for memory issues such as memory leaks, accesses through dead pointers, memory corruption and more. Second is "thread checking", which looks at your threaded program (using OpenMP, Windows API threads or pthreads) to see if there are deadlocks, data races and other threading errors that can be very hard to debug.
The third feature, Static Security Analysis, works in conjunction with the Intel compilers to do whole-program correctness checking for issues such as uninitialized variables, misused OpenMP* directives, array bounds errors (even in Fortran code where run-time bounds checking can't be used), and more. With Static Security Analysis, you do a special compile-only build of your application using the Intel compilers and then analyze the results using Intel Inspector XE. Note that you are free to use a different compiler to build the application, but the Intel compiler is used for Static Security Analysis reporting. I should also point out that Static Security Analysis (SSA) is a "suite-level" feature that requires a license for one of the "Studio" products. SSA is not available if you license Composer XE and Inspector XE individually.
For more information on Static Security Analysis, see /en-us/articles/static-security-analysis/
and for information on Intel Inspector XE, see /en-us/articles/intel-parallel-studio-xe/
So there you have it – Fortran users no longer need to feel slighted as they have an Intel software development suite of their very own. Sweet!