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Nvidia Corp. a leading supplier of discrete graphics processors, on Monday made an important step towards popularization of general-purpose computing on graphics processing units (GPGPU) by releasing a beta driver version that supports OpenCL application programming interface (API).

Today’s news-release is an announcement of beta OpenCL-supporting drivers that are due to be available later this year. At present, Nvidia is providing its OpenCL driver and software development kit (SDK) to solicit early feedback in advance of a beta release which will be made available to all GPU Computing Registered Developers in the coming months. So, while software developers are unlikely to start creating commercial software using OpenCL API, they will get access to tools necessary to start development.

“Nvidia was the first company to demonstrate OpenCL code running on a GPU. Being the first to release an OpenCL driver to developers cements Nvidia’s leadership in GPU computing and is another key milestone in our ongoing strategy to make the GPU the soul of the modern PC,” said Tony Tamasi, senior vice president of technology and content at Nvidia.

Nvidia demonstrated an OpenCL demo at Siggraph Asia 2008 late last year.

ATI, graphics products group of Advanced Micro Devices, also demonstrated cloth physics simulation using OpenCL API and Havok middle-ware at Game Developers Conference in March, 2009. The company yet has to offer its pre-beta drivers that support OpenCL to software developers. In fact, considering that Havok has already demonstrated its Cloth middle-ware using ATI Radeon graphics cards, it is obvious that AMD’s GPG has shipped OpenCL-supporting drivers to this particular developer a while ago.

Tags: Nvidia, Geforce, GPGPU, OpenCL, ATI, AMD, Radeon

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