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The Portland Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of STMicroelectronics and a leading independent supplier of compilers for high-performance computing, on Tuesday announced it is developing a CUDA C compiler targeting systems based on the industry-standard general-purpose 64- and 32-bit x86 architectures.

The PGI CUDA C compiler for x86 platforms will allow developers using CUDA to compile and optimize CUDA applications to run on x86-based workstations, servers and clusters with or without an Nvidia GPU accelerator. When run on x86-based systems without a GPU, PGI CUDA C applications will use multiple cores and the streaming SIMD (single instruction multiple data) capabilities of Intel and AMD CPUs for parallel execution.

"CUDA C for x86 is a perfect complement to CUDA Fortran and PGI’s optimizing parallel Fortran and C compilers for multi-core x86. It is another important element in our on-going strategy of providing HPC programmers with development tools that give PGI users a full range of options for optimizing compute-intensive applications, while allowing them to leverage the latest technical innovations from AMD, Intel and Nvidia," said Douglas Miles, the director of the Portland Group.

The announcement by Portland and Nvidia appears to be pretty important for the whole industry in general and the graphics chip designer in particular. On the one hand, it will be possible to recompile almost every software designed for Nvidia CUDA-compliant hardware to run at x86 architectures. On the other hand, it will be possible to easily port a multi-threaded x86 program onto CUDA-compliant platform. As a result, it will be easier for developers to realize benefits of Nvidia's multi-threaded architecture. In addition, with the new compiler it should be easier for software developers to write applications that use both CPUs and GPUs.

"With the CUDA for x86 CPU compiler, PGI is responding to the need of developers who want to use a single parallel programming model to target many core GPUs and multi-core CPUs," said Sanford Russell, general manager of GPU Computing software at Nvidia.

A big question is how well it is possible to recompile an originally x86 applications for CUDA architecture and vice versa. Intel is currently working on its MIC architecture that will result into explicitly multi-core x86 chips, which can potentially compete against Nvidia's graphics chips with hundreds of stream processors.

The new PGI CUDA C compiler for x86 platforms will be demonstrated at the SC10 Supercomputing conference taking place in New Orleans, LA, November 13-15, 2010.

Tags: Nvidia, CUDA, Geforce, x86, GPGPU, Tesla, FireStream, AMD, , Intel, MIC

Discussion

Comments currently: 5
Discussion started: 09/22/10 08:50:05 AM
Latest comment: 09/23/10 09:52:42 AM
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1. 
I thought nVidia was trumpeting that CPUs are inefficient with HPC tasks and saying GPUs are so much better!

nVidia should have opened up CUDA long ago to other platforms. OpenCL is still in its infancy and CUDA is gaining a lot of ground in the HPC space. It's a shame that its closed off to FireStream cards but at least its now open to the x86 world.
0 0 [Posted by: RtFusion  | Date: 09/22/10 08:50:05 AM]
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Except that CUDA would work a million times faster on CUDA GPU than on CPU. Therefore, people that implement it on CPU will eventually migrate to nVidia GPU. It will also improve compatability of the technology.
0 0 [Posted by: jonup  | Date: 09/23/10 04:14:01 AM]
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2. 
They are inefficient in general for a lot of tasks, but when you can enable free horse power w/o hurting your bottom line any you might as well is what it boils down to.

Smart retialiation tactics on Nvidia's part to fend of the AMD/Intel invasion they won't go away lying down careful when corning the beast.
0 0 [Posted by: knowom  | Date: 09/22/10 11:21:04 PM]
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3. 
This is exactly the kind of breakthroughs we have come to expect from NVIDIA. We are still waiting to see AMD Stream to offer something similar.

For all the naysayers of how NVIDIA is cutting their own foot off by limiting their software to only their hardware; I guess that is no longer true? NVIDIA has always strived to create new technology to help the computer evolve overall.
0 0 [Posted by: LedHed  | Date: 09/23/10 06:30:22 AM]
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4. 
Some of these comments are so biased i would have to hope the authors work for nvidia / ati.

Nvidia is simply trying to motivate people to use CUDA, because you will no longer be writing code that cant run at all without nvidia hardware. People are reluctant to switch to something / invest time and money developing for it when your limited to only 1 set of hardware that not all your customers use.

All companies generally do what they feel is best for their bottom line. Nvidia doesn't always strive to help computers evolve, they only allow physx on their cards, they didn't develop physx, they bought it and then restricted it to their hardware. Not saying that was the wrong decision for them as a company, but definitely wasn't "striving to create new technology to help the computer evolve".
0 0 [Posted by: cashkennedy  | Date: 09/23/10 09:52:42 AM]
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