I am not a fan of detours. The challenge of scaling to extreme computing is a milestone on the road to every day computing.
In Justin Rattner's keynote this morning at IDF, we got to see another example of how we make programs for multicore processors run on many-core processors. Andrzej Nowak from CERN openlab demonstrated "Track Fitter" on a Intel MIC software development platform, which looks for tracks of particles in the data from a particle detector. This online processing near the detectors on the Large Hadron Collider uses advanced algorithms to determine what the real data from the detectors means. The code scales well on multicore processors and it scales well on the Intel MIC software development platform (code name Knights Ferry). The code demonstrated required no source code changes in moving from running on multicore systems to running on a many-core system. These results by the team at CERN openlab using Intel tools show very well how Intel's investments are helping software development stay clear of detours.
Intel introduced Intel Parallel Studio XE 2011 in November 2010. It was updated, with SP1, this month (September 2011). It is designed for "Scaling to Extreme Computing" with the assumption that every method at Intel's disposal should deliver this as a continuous journey using programming methods that will make sense long term. Intel Parallel Studio XE 2011 SP1 really delivers four ways:
- C/C++/Fortran no compromises: C as a first class citizen, C++ as a first class citizen, Fortran as a first class citizen (see Steve Lionel's blog on Fortran support!)
- High performance. To paraphrase Lee Iacocca, "If you can find a higher performance compiler, buy it." Try it out, and be sure to submit feedback if it is anything other than #1 for you for your IA (x86 or x86-64) code.
- Standards. There is compiler support for Decimal FP per IEEE 754-2008 and ISO/IEC TR 24732:2009, OpenMP 3.1, TBB 4.0 and Cilk™ Plus 1.1 implemented. Intel is leading with C++11, Fortran 2003 and Fortran 2008 support - with relatively little left unimplemented in these important standards.
- Parallel programming models. This is where the no detours part comes in. Programming models for multicore processors today that scale to many-core processors tomorrow (actually their prototypes today - more on that shortly). OpenMP 3.1, Coarray Fortran (part of Fortran 2008), Intel Threading Building Blocks (TBB) 4.0 with the very important Flow Graph feature, and Cilk Plus 1.1 support.
Of course, there are a lot more gems in SP1... including the ability to attached Intel VTune™ Amplifier to a running process instead of requiring that VTune launch the process you want to tune, and the ability to use Intel Parallel Advisor with XE.
And, of course, be sure to take Intel Parallel Studio XE 2011 SP1 for a spin. Evaluation copies are waiting for you!