Graphics Programming Language OpenCL Released As A Standard - InformationWeek

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Infrastructure // PC & Servers

Graphics Programming Language OpenCL Released As A Standard

The technology, expected to be a major feature in Apple's Snow Leopard OS, lets developers take advantage of parallel processing in the latest multicore graphics hardware.

OpenCL, a graphics programming language expected to be a major feature in Apple's upcoming "Snow Leopard" operating system, was released Tuesday as a royalty-free standard.

The Khronos Group released OpenCL, or Open Computing Language, at Siggraph Asia in Singapore. The technology makes it possible for developers to take advantage of parallel processing in the latest multicore graphics hardware found in Apple computers and Windows PCs. OpenCL can also be used to write programs for handheld devices and high-performance computers used in scientific research and the medical industry.

Apple submitted OpenCL as a draft specification six months ago to Khronos, which formed a working group. Participants included Advanced Micro Devices, Apple, ARM, Codeplay, Ericsson, Freescale, Graphic Remedy, IBM, Imagination Technologies, Intel, Nokia, Nvidia, Motorola, QNX, Qualcomm, Samsung, Seaweed, TI, 3Dlabs, and Umea University.

"The opportunity to effectively unlock the capabilities of new generations of programmable compute and graphics processors drove the unprecedented level of cooperation to refine the initial proposal from Apple into the ratified OpenCL 1.0 specification," Neil Trevett, chair of the OpenCL working group and president of the Khronos Group, said in a statement. Trevett is also a VP at Nvidia.

Besides graphics processing units, OpenCL also can be used in programming software for CPUs and cell and other multicore processors, such as digital signal processors. OpenCL consists of an application programming interface for parallel computation and a programming language for specifying those computations.

Apple released a preview of Snow Leopard in June. The operating system, which presumably will be designated Max OS X 10.6 when it's released next year, will be optimized for multicore processors and designed to facilitate future Mac platform innovation.

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