|22 Jul 2013||#1|
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OpenCL 2.0 brings new graphics-chip power to software
A new version of the interface makes software running on graphics chips more self-reliant and better at sharing data with conventional software running on CPUs.
The Khronos Group announced OpenCL 2.0 on Monday, an update designed to give graphics chips more independence and therefore power when running general-purpose software.
OpenCL provides a standard mechanism for software to tap into the computational power of graphics chips, and the Khronos Group standardizes it. It announced a provisional 2.0 specification the Siggraph 2013 conference this week, planning to make it final after a six-month feedback period.
Graphics processing units (GPUs) are geared for graphics chores, of course, but they're also becoming steadily more capable of handling jobs ordinarily assigned to the general-purpose central processing unit (CPU). That's in part because GPUs are designed to do many tasks in parallel, which is can be useful for mathematical calculations such as for simulating splashing liquids or rustling curtains in video games.
One of the chief difficulties of using the GPU for general-purpose software -- an approach called GPGPU -- is that programmers must write software that runs on both the GPU and CPU. The CPU's software is ultimately in charge, but programmers still have to figure out how to coordinate the two software components and to use data in memory.
OpenCL 2.0 offers improvements in both these domains.
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