Developers get boost for multicore apps

Chip giant Intel unveils a suite of new tools that aims to help developers engage in parallel coding, for a future where every machine is multicore.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--As Intel prepares for multiple cores in every machine, it is bringing new tools to the table for software developers.

Pat Gelsinger, Intel's senior vice president and general manager of the digital enterprise group, said as multiprocessing had historically been synonymous with supercomputing, parallel software has mostly been limited to a narrow set of applications. On the other hand, the vast majority of consumer software has been designed for single-processor environments, he told ZDNet Asia in an interview Wednesday during the Intel Developer Forum (IDF).

"As we now deliver multicore processors to every machine on the planet, there's far more economic value for software developers to take advantage of it," Gelsinger pointed out.

But to be able to realize that scenario, software developers need to be equipped with new tools and languages, to enable them to take advantage of the hardware capabilities. "Everything that they (developers) learnt when they went to school and all the development they've been doing has been for single core, and now we have to go enable them with new tools, with new libraries and new approaches," he said.

To boost parallel coding, the chipmaker launched Wednesday the Intel Parallel Studio, a set of four tools designed to help a broader range of developers manage and scale parallel code.

In her IDF keynote, Renee James, Intel vice president and general manager for software and solutions group, called the Intel Parallel Studio "the ultimate all-in-one suite for parallelism". The tools are designed to work with Microsoft's Visual Studio and Microsoft's concurrent runtime environment, said James, adding that the beta program will debut in November.

Leading up to the announcement, James noted that having more processing power opens up greater possibilities for software, citing full high-definition video quality being possible with multicore systems.

James highlighted an example of multicore use in healthcare, where equipment with quad-core embedded processors are used to provide 3D real-time images of a patient's heart before a surgical procedure. MediGuide, an Israeli medical-device company, and Philips partnered Intel in the project.

Vivian Yeo of ZDNet Asia reported from the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, California.

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