Another Open-Source OpenCL Project Pops Up
Written by Michael Larabel in Compiler on 20 October 2011 at 08:01 AM EDT. 7 Comments
Compiler
This week has been busy with OpenCL news with the release of Portable OpenCL and libclc, but now there's been another project brought up and that's a German university research project to create a high-performance OpenCL driver for the CPU.

Students from the University of Saarland in the Compiler Design Lab have been working on a new OpenCL driver. Like the other OpenCL projects, this project also is using LLVM/Clang for its compiler. This OpenCL driver runs on the CPU and can take advantage of SSE and AVX extensions.

Rather than focusing first upon implementing the entire OpenCL (1.0/1.1) specification, like is done with the Clover and Portable OpenCL projects, those in Saarland first focused upon maximum performance before delivering full support for the OpenCL API. According to their internal benchmarks, their CPU driver is outperforming the CPU implementations of the AMD Stream SDK and Intel's OpenCL SDK on the processor.

The plan is to release this new OpenCL driver and vectorization library under a BSD-style license, but first they are going to finish working on the code's stability and feature completeness. They might also use the libclc library to remove AMD's OpenCL-to-LLVM front-end.

With all of these differing OpenCL projects coming up, we could reach a point of a fragmented mess for open-source OpenCL projects, but one of the Saarland developers writes: "I agree on the fact that we should try to merge the different open-source OpenCL projects, but at least at first glance they do not seem to share too many design decisions."

If we can see an open-source, high-performance OpenCL driver on the CPU to begin appearing as part of the package set in the major Linux distributions, this should really open up new opportunities for Linux.

Read more about the University of Saarland OpenCL project in this email to the LLVM mailing list.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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