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Ubuntu Please Implement support for OpenCL API



Just heard that the next version of OS-X (Snow Leopard) is going to support using the GPU for number crunching tasks. It’d be absolutely awesome if ubuntu could do this too.

Now that OpenCL 1.0 is final, prioritising support would not only inspire developers to use linux, but also prove that we have the development toolkits, guts and motivation to compete against OSX Snow Leopard and Windows 7. If we don’t support it rapidly, we will only fall further behind OSX, especially since it will give their developers extra time to utilise it properly (we shouldn’t be waiting until its already popular). The faster we get this implemented, the quicker developers can use it, and the faster Ubuntu will be!

For those who don’t know, OpenCL is a royalty-free standard for developers to program general purpose highly parallelised applications over GPU and CPU (combining their power even). Its more advanced then CUDA in that it combines CPU and GPU power and is accessible outside of Nvidia’s video cards.

In summary, OpenCL is expected to become very popular with developers and users, and will make everything damned fast (especially considering we are already seeing video cards with 1600 processing threads, and Intel CPU’s with 16 virtual CPU’s will be out Q3 2009). If every program used OpenCL, processing power will seem almost infinite to end users.

Activision, Blizzard, AMD, Apple, ARM, Broadcom, Electronic Arts, IBM, Intel, Nokia, NVIDIA, Apple and Samsung are all on board. All major gaming companies, CPU and GPU manufacturers are on board. So yes, it will be a slaughter without support… ATI is dropping “close to metal”, and as Nvidia will support OpenCL, CUDA will probably be depreciated slowly too (at the moment they are recommending CUDA only as a higher-level development platform).

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  1. kusu
    24/06/2009 at 12:09 am

    This isn’t a Linux thing but a driver one.
    NVIDIA is already testing a OpenCL capable Linux driver:

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=NzMzMg

  2. 24/06/2009 at 9:25 am

    @kusu – a linux driver has been out for ages as far as I know (you could certainly buy fast openCL machines running linux). The trick is OSX is going to be using it for it’s crunching (not just specific apps) so there will apparently be massive speed improvements.

  3. muenalan
    18/08/2009 at 5:09 pm

    Yes, i support this motion a lot.

  4. 23/07/2010 at 8:44 pm

    Hi, my name is Nadav and I am a PhD student researching Parallel Compilers (such as OpenCL, OpenMP, etc). Both AMD and NVidia released OpenCL runtimes for Linux. It would be interesting to see an open sourced runtime. I think that the gallium folks are working on an open sourced OpenCL implementation. However, judging by their git commits, they are far from completing this task.

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