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Michael Zucchi

 B.E. (Comp. Sys. Eng.)

  also known as zed
  & handle of notzed

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Friday, 01 July 2011, 15:16

OpenCL killer application?

So i've been trying to think of some killer application that OpenCL could enable.

Sure you have video rendering or processing, signal analysis and the like - but for desktop use these sorts of things can already be done. And if it's a little slow you can always throw more cores and/or boxes at it.

But I guess the big thing is hand-held devices. This is probably why the ARM guys are starting to make noise of late: being able to put `desktop power' into hand-held devices. Still, this is more of an evolutionary change than a revolutionary one - with mobile phones now being pocket computers we all expect that one day they'll be able to do everything we can on bigger machines, with moores law and all that (which is related to the number of transistors, not the processing performance).

I was also thinking again about AMD's next-gen designs - one aspect I hadn't fully appreciated is that they can scale up as well as down. Even just a single SM unit with 4x16 SIMD cores running at a modest and battery-friendly clock rate would add a mammoth amount of processing power to a hand-held device. It has some similar traits to the goals behind the CELL CPU - the design forces you to partition your work into chunks that fit on a single SPU. But once done you get that done - you gain a massive benefit of then being able to scale up the software by (almost) transparently executing these discrete units of work on more processors if they're available.

So, I don't think there will be a 'killer application' - software that only becomes possible and popular because of OpenCL (for one, the platform support is going to be weak until the hardware is common, and even then micro$oft wont support it because they're wanker khunts) - rather it will be the hardware application of placing desktop-power into your hand (and if such performance is only utilised to play flash games at high resolution, I fear the future of humanity is already lost).

Tagged opencl, philosophy.
jjmpeg - microsoft windows 64 | It's funny 'cause it's true ...
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