Tag Archives: ARM

Scaling mobile GPUs to 1000 GFLOPS

arm_mali_cover_151112297646_640x360On the 20th of April 2013 there was an interesting discussion between Jan Gray and David Kanter. Jan is a specialist in C++ and FPGAs (twitter, homepage). David is a specialist in CPU and GPU architectures (twitterhomepage). Both know their ways well in the field of semiconductors. It is always a joy to follow their short discussions when they happen, but there was something about this one that made me want to share it with special attention.

OpenCL on ARM: Growth-expectation of GFLOPS/Watt of mobile GPUs exceeds Moore’s law. That’s incredible!

Jan Gray: .@OpenCLonARM GFLOPS/W more a factor of almost-over Dennard Scaling. But plenty of waste still to quash. http://www.fpgacpu.org/papers/Gray_AutumnOfMooresLaw_SingularityUniversity_11-06-23.pdf

Jan Gray‏: .@openclonarm Scratch Dennard tweet: reduced capacitance of yet smaller devices shd improve GFLOPS/W even as we approach end of Vdd scaling.

David Kanter: @jangray @OpenCLonARM I think some companies would argue Vdd scaling isn’t dead…

Jan Gray: @TheKanter @openclonarm it’s not dead, but slowing, we’ve gone from 5V to 1V (25x power savings) and have maybe several hundred mVs to go.

David Kanter: @jangray I reckon we have at least 400mV, so ~2X; slower than ideal, but still significant

Jan Gray: @TheKanter We agree, I think.

David Kanter: @jangray I suspect that if GPU scaling > Moore’s Law then they are just spending more area or power; like discrete GPUs in the last decade

David Kanter: @jangray also, most positive comment I’ve heard from industry folks on mobile GPU software and drivers is “catastrophically terrible”

Jan Gray: @TheKanter Many ways to reduce power, soup to nuts. For ex HMC DRAM on interposer for lower energy signaling. I’m sure many tricks to come.

In a nutshell, all the reasons they think mobile GPUs can outpace Moore’s law while staying under a certain power-usage.

It needs some background-info, so let’s start the background of the first tweet, and then explain what has been said. Read more …

The CPU is dead. Long live the CPU!

Scene from Gladiator when is decided on the end of somebody’s life.

Look at the computers and laptops sold at your local computer shop. There are just few systems with a separate GPU, neither as PCI-device nor integrated on the motherboard. The graphics are handled by the CPU now. The Central Processing Unit as we knew it is dying.

To be clear I will refer to an old CPU as “GPU-less CPU”, and name the new CPU (with GPU included) as plain “CPU” or “hybrid Processor”. There are many names for the new CPU with all their own history, which I will discuss in this article.

The focus is on X86. The follow-up article is on whether the king X86 will be replaced by king ARM.

Know that all is based on my own observations; please comment if you have nice information.

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USB-stick sized ARM-computers

Now that smartphones get more powerful and internet makes it possible to have all functionality and documents with you anywhere, the computer needs to be reinvented. You see all big IT-companies searching for how that can be, from Windows Metro to complete docking stations to replace the desktop by your phone. A turbulent market.

One of the new products are USB-stick sized computers. Stick them into a TV or monitor, zap in your code and you have your personal working environment. You never need to carry laptops to your hotel-room or conference, as long as a screen is available – any screen.

There are several USB-computers entering the market, but I wanted to introduce you to two. Both of these see a future in a strong processor in a portable device, and both do not have a real product with these strong processors. But you can expect that in 2013 you can have a device that can do very fast parallel processing to have a smooth Photoshop experience… at your key-ring.

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StreamComputing flirts with ARM

 With the launch of twitter-channel @OpenCLonARM we now officially show a strong interest in ARM for compute. And we are not the only ones, as the twitter already has 80 followers (60 in 1.5 day and 12 retweets of the welcome-message).

ARM has made tremendous progress in both technology and market-share. With ARM-64, companies like NVidia (and maybe AMD) in the field, X86 seems to be getting a real competitor. This could happen because since a few years computers are fast enough and are not being replaced by a faster one, but a smaller one (tablet, phone) or extra one. By the rules of the market, current technologies are replaced by the ones that give those other needs. ARM is fast (enough), flexible in design, very cheap, low-power and passively cooled. The biggest obstacle seems to be only getting a standard for a docking-station to connect your mobile, tablet or watch to keyboard, mouse and large screen.

OpenCL is perfect for ARM, as it gives the computation-power to the intensive computations not already covered by hardware-support. In the world of X86 this interests high performance and big data companies, where on ARM this interests also more. Without the need for OpenCL you can already watch HD video, with OpenCL you can encode the video with MP4. This year you will certainly hear more about new possibilities of OpenCL on ARM.

What do you think. Why does Intel not sell IP to ARM-companies as many technologies could be reused? Could Intel be the next ARM as an IP-seller, or will they stay the defender of X86 for many years to come?

StreamComputing.eu is not affiliated with ARM.

Exposing OpenCL on Android: Q&A with Tim Lewis of ZiiLabs

ZiiLabs has been offering an early access program for OpenCL SDK since last year. This program was very selective in choosing developers and little news has been put on their webpage. Now they are planning to make their Android NDK a standard component, it’s a good time to ask them some questions. GPGPU-consultant Liad Weinberger of Appilo also added a few questions.

The Q&A has been with Tim Lewis, director Marketing and Partner Relations of ZiiLabs, who has taken the time to give some insights in what we can expect around accelerated computations on Android. ZiiLabs has been better known as 3DLabs and has reinvented itself in 2009 (you can read the full history here). Like other companies in the ARM-industry they mostly design chips and let other parties manufacture devices using their schematics, drivers and software. Now to the questions.

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OpenCL Developer support by NVIDIA, AMD and Intel

There was some guy at Microsoft who understood IT very well while being a businessman: “Developers, developers, developers, developers!”. You saw it again in the mobile market and now with OpenCL. Normally I watch his yearly speech to see which product they have brought to their own ecosphere, but the developers-speech is one to watch over and over because he is so right about this! (I don’t recommend the house-remixes, because those stick in your head for weeks.)

Since OpenCL needs to be optimised for each platform, it is important for the companies that developers start developing for their platform first. StreamComputer is developing a few different Eclipse-plugins for OpenCL-development, so we were curious what was already there. Why not share all findings with you? I will keep this article updated – know this article does not cover which features are supported by each SDK.

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Engineering World 2011: OpenCL in the Cloud

[Dutch] Op het Sogeti Engineering World 2011 heb ik een presentatie gehouden over OpenCL in de cloud, in het Nederlands. Om the coolheidsfactor te verhogen heb ik gebruik gemaakt van Prezi als contrast met de standaard dia-show-presentaties. Het resultaat treft u hier beneden, maar kan helaas onmogelijk het hele verhaal vertellen dat ik gedeeld heb tijdens de presentatie. Wilt u ergens iets meer van afweten, vraag gewoon of zet een comment onderaan dit artikel. Ik luister naar mijn lezers via Twitter.

De presentation bestaat uit 4 delen: een introductie, uitleg van OpenCL, Mobiele apparaten en and Data-centres. De laatste twee vormen cloud-computing.

[English] At the Sogeti Engineering World 2011 I presented about OpenCL in the cloud, in Dutch. To increase the relative cool-factor I made sure I had the only Prezi-presentation between the standard sheet-flip presentations. The result you can see below, but can impossibly tell all I shared at the presentation. If you want to know more, just ask or put an comment under this article. I listen to my readers via Twitter.

The presentation has four parts: an introduction, explanation of OpenCL, Mobile devices and data centres. The last two form a segment cloud-computing I want to focus on.

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Waiting for Mobile OpenCL – Q1 2011

About 5 months ago we started waiting for Mobile OpenCL. Meanwhile we had all the news around ARM on CES in January, and of course all those beta-programs made progress meanwhile. And after a year of having “support“, we actually want to see the words “SDK” and/or “driver“. So who’s leading? Ziilabs, ImTech, Vivante, Qualcomm, FreeScale or newcomer nVIDIA?

Mobile phone manufacturers could have a big problem with the low-level access to the GPU. While most software can be sandboxed in some form, OpenCL can crash the phone. But at the other side, if the program hasn’t taken down the developer’s test-phone, the chances are low it will take any other phone. And also there are more low-level access-points to the phone. So let’s check what has happened until now.

Note: this article will be updated if more news comes from MWC ’11.

OpenCL EP

For mobile devices Khronos has specified a profile, which is optimised for (ARM) phones: OpenCL Embedded Profile. Read on for the main differences (taken from a presentation by Nokia).

Main differences

  • Adapting code for embedded profile
  • Added macro __EMBEDDED_PROFILE__
  • CL_PLATFORM_PROFILE capabilityreturns the string EMBEDDED_PROFILE if only the embedded profile is supported
  • Online compiler is optional
  • No 64-bit integers
  • Reduced requirements for constant buffers, object allocation, constant argument count and local memory
  • Image & floating point support matches OpenGL ES 2.0 texturing
  • The extensions of full profile can be applied to embedded profile

Read more …

Windows on ARM

In 2010 Microsoft got interested in ARM, because of low-power solutions for server-parks. ARM tried to lobby for years to convince Microsoft to port Windows to their architecture and now the result is there. Let’s not look to the past, why they did not do it earlier and depended completely on Intel, AMD/ATI and NVIDIA. NB: This article is a personal opinion, to open up the conversation about Windows plus OpenCL.

While Google and Apple have taken their share on the ARM-OS market, Microsoft wants some too. A wise choice, but again late. We’ve seen how the Windows-PC market was targeted first from the cloud (run services in the browser on any platform) and Apple’s user-friendly eye-candy (A personal computer had to be distinguished from a dull working-machine), then from the smartphones and tablets (many users want e-mail and a browser, not sit behind their desk). MS’s responses were Azure (Cloud, Q1 2010), Windows 7 (OS with slick user-interface, Q3 2009), Windows Phone 7 (Smartphones, Q4 2010) and now Windows 8 (OS for X86 PCs and ARM tablets, 2012 or later).

Windows 8 for ARM will be made with assistance from NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, according to their press-release [1]. They even demonstrated a beta of Windows 8 running Microsoft Office on ARM-hardware, so it is not just a promise.

How can Microsoft support this new platform and (for StreamComputing more important) what will the consequences be for OpenCL, CUDA and DirectCompute.

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NVIDIA’s answer to SandyBridge and Fusion

Intel has Sandy Bridge, AMD has Fusion, now NVIDIA has a combination of CPU and GPU too: Project Denver. The only difference is that it is not X86-based, but an ARM-architecture. And most-probable the most powerful ARM-GPU of 2011.

For years there were ARM-based Systems-on-a-chip: a CPU and a GPU combined (see list below). On the X86-platform the “integrated GPU” was on the motherboard, and since this year now both AMD/ATI and Intel hit this “new market”.The big advantage is that it’s cheaper to produce, is more powerful per Watt (in total) and has good acceleration-potential. NVIDIA does not have X86-chips and would have been the big loser of 2011; they did everything to reinvent themselves: 3D was reintroduced, CUDA was actively developed and pushed (free libraries and tools, university-programs, many books and trainings, Tesla, etc), a mobile Tegra graphics solution [1] (see image at the right),  and all existing products got extra backing from the marketing-department. A great time for researchers who needed to get free products in exchange of naming NVIDIA in their research-reports.

NVIDIA chose for ARM; interesting for who is watching the CUDA-vs-OpenCL battle, since CUDA was for GPUs of NVIDIA on X86 and ARM was solely for OpenCL. Period. In the contrary to their other ARM-based chips, this new chip probably won’t be in smartphones (yet); it targets systems that need more GPU-power like CUDA and games.

In a few days the article about Windows-on-ARM is to be released, which completes this article.

Read more …

New grown-ups on the block

Members of the band There is one big reason StreamComputing chose for OpenCL and that is (future) hardware-support. I talked about NVIDIA versus AMD a lot, but knowing others would join soon. AMD is correct when they say the future is fusion: hybrid computing with a single chip holding both CPU- and GPU-cores, sharing the same memory and interconnected at high speed. Merging the technologies would also give possible much higher bandwidths to memory for the CPU. Let us see in short which products from experienced companies will appear on the OpenCL-stage.

Read more …

People who follow me, know my interest in ARM Cortex CPU & Mali GPU and Imagination Technology’s PowerVR, regarding OpenCL-potential. Here is an overview of what I found out until now and has more open ends than answers. I was very hopeful about access to mobile OpenCL for developers, but now I think it will have to wait until 2011. It seems that the mobile phone makers keep the power to themselves in the form of system-libraries instead of giving direct access. Actually a wise choice, given the fact that a bad kernel could easily crash the phone.

Imagination Technology’s PowerVR SGX product provides the GPU-power for the iPhone 4 and various new Android phones. The company does not provide an OpenCL SDK directly to end-users, but leaves the responsibility to the implementers of their IP. Strangely enough they offer SDKs for OpenGL, and say “no comment” to a pretty direct forum-question. In other words: we don’t know what to expect.

Samsung has the only official implementation for ARM (ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore CPU) for OpenCL. Samsung just released their home-made Linux-based mobile phone OS “Bada”, but there is not a sign of OpenCL in their API. Samsung being the only one who could open an API to developers on their phones officially, does not make me smile yet.

There are many, many voices that Apple iOS 4 has support for OpenCL, but then only in the system-libraries. Given the fact that Apple is a big fan of OpenCL, we can assume this is true. See the web for a lot of articles about this.

ZiiLabs is open about their support for OpenCL in their ZMS-05 processor, and has an early access program. Early access still means waiting.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon does not mention OpenCL at all, while it powers the more powerful smartphones. It mentions a recent job-post, so you know the drill: wait.

Android has good support for OpenGL ES, but not officially for OpenCL.You might have heard of the particle experiment for Android, which is actually OpenGL-based. It also mentions the Android-version of the bullet engine (broken link) for physics-computations, but also no OpenCL. It doesn’t look like Android “Gingerbread” will have support.

So what did you learn after reading this? That developers still won’t have access to OpenCL-API on a mobile platform, and that you have to wait until next year or enter ZiiLabs’ early access program. More about the good and bad of hiding OpenCL on this blog.

The System-on-a-chip (SoC) for X86 will be a revolution for GPGPU. Why? Because currently a big problem is transferring data from CPU-memory to GPU-memory and back, which will be solved with SoCs. Below you can read this architecture-target is very possible.

With AMD+ATI, Intel and its future high-end GPUs, and NVidia with the rumours around its X86-chips, we will certainly get changes in the field. If it is the way to go, what is probable?

  1. Get both CPU and high-end GPU on 1 chip, separated memory
  2. Techniques for sharing memory
  3. Translating OpenCL from and to C on the fly

ARM-processors are combined with GPUs a lot of times, but they don’t have current support for a common shader-languages (read: OpenCL) to make GPGPU in reach. We’ve asked ourselves many times why ARM & friends are involved in OpenCL since the beginning, but still don’t have any public and promoted driver-support. More on ARM, once there is more news on multi-core ARM-CPUs or OpenCL drivers.

1: One chip for everything

The biggest problem with split CPU/GPU-functionality is the bus-speed between the two is limited. The higher this speed, the more useful GPGPU can be. The highest speeds are possible when the signal does not have to leave the chip and there are no concessions made to the architecture of the graphics-card, in other words: glueing CPU and GPU together, but leave the memory-buses the same.

Currently there is Intel’s Nehalem and AMD’s Fusion, but they use DDR3 for both GPU and CPU; this will not really unlock the GPGPU-possibilities of high-end GPUs. It seems these products were designed with lower costs in mind.

But the chances high-end GPUs will be integrated on the CPU is rising. Going to 32nm gives room for more functionality, such as GPUs. Other choices can be smaller chips, more cores and integrating functionality of the north/south-bridge of the motherboard. If GPU-cores can be turned off when not working optimally when being tested in the factory (just like they do with mult-core CPUs), integrating high-end GPU-cores will even become a save choice.

Another way it could go is using optical buses between the GPU and CPU. It’s unknown if it will really see mainstream markets soon enough.

2: Shared memory – new style

Some levels of cache and all memory should be easy accessible by both types of cores. Why? Because eventually you want to switch between CPU- and GPU-instructions continuously. CUDA has a nice feature already, which keeps objects synchronised between CPU and GPU; one step further is leaving out the need of synchronising.

The problem is that video-memory is accessed more parallel to provide higher data-speeds (GDDR5), so we don’t want to limit the GPU by attaching them to slower (=lower bandwidth) DDR3. Doing it the other way would then be the best solution: giving CPUs direct access to GDDR. There is always a probable option that a new type of (replaceable) memory will be used, which has a dual-bus by design.

The hard part is memory-protection; since now more devices get control to memory, the overhead of controlling/arranging the spots can increase enormously and might need a separate core for it – just like the Cell-processor. This need-for-control is a reason I don’t expect access to each other memory before there will be a fast bus between GPU and CPU, since then the access to GDDR via the GPU’s memory-manager will be much faster and maybe even fast enough.

3: Grown up software

If software would be able to easily select devices and use the same code for each device, then we’ve made a giant step forwards. Software has always been one step behind hardware; so when you do not develop such techniques, you just have to wait a while.

Translating OpenCL into normal C and back will be possible in all kinds of ways, once there is more acceptance of (and thus demand for) GPGPU. AMD’s OpenCL-implementation for CPUs is also a way to merge the fields of CPU and GPU. It’s hard to tell how these techniques will merge, but it will certainly happen. Think of situations that some instructions will be sent to the GPU by the OS even when the (OpenCL) programmer did not think of it. Or do you expect to be an ARM-processor integrated in a near-future CPU, when you write an OpenCL-kernel now?

See our article on the bright future of GPGPU to read more about it.

What’s next?

In case this is the way it goes, there will be a lot possible for both OpenCL and CUDA – depending on market demands. Some possibilities will be discussed in an upcoming article about FPGAs, but also let me hear what you think about X86-SoCs. Comment or send an e-mail.

All the members of the OpenCL working group 2010

(If you’re searching for companies who offer OpenCL-products and services, please visit OpenCL:Pro)

You probably have heard AMD is on the OpenCL working group of Khronos; but there are many more and they possibly all have plans to use it. Here is an overview, so you can make your own conclusions about the future that lays ahead. Is your company on “the list”?

We’re specially interested in the less known companies, so most information is about the companies you and us possibly have not heard from before. We’ve made  assumptions what the companies use OpenCL for, so we need your feedback if you think we’re wrong! Most of these companies have not openly written about their (future) accelerated products, so we had to make those guesses.

Disclaimer: All brand and product names are or may be trademarks of, and are used to identify products or services of, their respective owners.

Last updated 6-Oct-2010.

GPU Manufacturers

GPUs being the first products targeted by OpenCL, we blast away with a list of CPU-manufacturers. You might see some unknown companies and now know which companies missed the train; it is pretty clear why GPU-manufacturers have interest in OpenCL.
We skip the companies who have a GPU-stack built upon ARM-techology and only focus on pure GPU-manufacturers in this category.

AMD

We’ve already discussed the biggest fan of OpenCL several times. While having better GPU-cards than NVIDIA (arguable per quarter of the year), they put their bets completely on OpenCL. They even get credits like “AMD’s OpenCL” when compared with NVIDIA’s CUDA.

The end of 2010, beginning of 2011 they will ship their Fusion-product having a CPU and GPU on one chip. The first Fusion-chips will not have a high-end GPU because of heating problems, is told to PC-store employees.

NVIDIA

AMD’s biggest competitor with the very well marketed similar product CUDA. Currently they have the most specialised products in market for servers. While they put more energy in their own technology CUDA, it must be said that they have adopted OpenCL more than any other hardware vendor.

Intel

The biggest part of the CPU-market is for Intel en guess once, who has the biggest GPU-market in hands? Correct: onboard-GPUs are Intel’s speciality, but their high-end GPU Larrabee might once see the market. Just like AMD they have the technology (and products) to have an integrated CPU/GPU which will be very interesting for the upcoming OpenCL-market.

They are openly interested in OpenCL. Here is a nice interview which explains how a CPU-designer looks at GPU-designs.

Vivante

Vivante manufactures GPU-chips. They claim their OpenGL ES 2.0-compliant silicon footprint is the smallest on the market. There is a lot of talk about OpenGL Shader Language (OpenCL’s grandpa), for which their products are very well suited for. Quote: “The recent trend in graphics hardware has been to replace fixed functionality with programmability in areas that have grown exceedingly complex, such as vertex processing and fragment processing. The OpenGL® Shading Language was designed to allow application programmers to express the processing that occurs at those programmable points of the OpenGL pipeline. Independently compilable units written in this language are called shaders. A program is a set of shaders that are compiled and linked together.”

Takumi

Japanese corporation Takumi manufactures the GSHARK, a 2D/3D hardware accelerator. The focus is on shaders, like Vivante.

Imagination Technologies (ImTech)

From their homepage: >>POWERVR enables a powerful and flexible solution for all forms of multimedia processing, including 3D/2D/vector graphics and general purpose processing (GP-GPU) including image processing.

POWERVR’s unique tile-based, deferred rendering/shading architecture allows a very small area of a die to deliver higher performance and image quality at lower power consumption than all competing technologies. All major APIs are supported including OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1, OpenVG 1.1, OpenGL 2.0/3.0 and DirectX9/10.1 and OpenCL.<<

Currently all ARM-based OpenCL-capable devices have POWERVR-technology.

Toshiba

Like other huge Japanese everything-factories, you don’t know what else they make. Besides rice cookers they also make multimedia chips.

S3

Once they were big in the consumer-market of graphics cards, but S3 still exists as a more business-oriented manufacturer of graphics products.

CPU Manufacturers

We miss the Power Architecture, but IBM and Freescale are members of this group.

Intel

While AMD tries to make OpenCL available for the CPU, we have not heard of a similar product from Intel yet. They see a future for multi-core CPUs, as seen in these slides.

ARM

Most known for its same-named low-power processor, not supported by MS Windows. You can read below how many companies have a license on their technology. Together with POWERVR-technology they power all the embedded OpenCL devices of the coming year.

IBM

Currently they are most known for their Cell-processor (co-developed with Toshiba and Sony) and have a license to build PowerArchitecture-CPUs. The Cell has full OpenCL-support as first non-GPU. Older types of PS3s (without the latest firmware) ad IBM’s servers can use the power of OpenCL. End of June 2010 Khronos conformed their “Development Kit for Linux” for Power VMX and PowerXCell8i processors.

Freescale

Once a Motorola-division, they make lots of different CPUs. Besides ARM- and PowerArchitecure-based ones, they also have it’s own ‘Coldfire’. We cannot say for which architecture they are interested in OpenCL, but we really would like to hear something from them since they can open many markets for OpenCL.

Systems on a Chip (SoC)

While it is cool to have a GPU-card in your pc, more and more the Graphics-functionality is integrated onto a CPU. Especially in the mobile/embedded/gadget-market you’ll find such System-on-a-Chip solutions, which are actually all ARM- or PowerArchitecture based.

3DLABS (ZiiLabs)

Creators of embedded hardware with focus on handhelds. They have partners of Khronos for a long time, having built the first merchant OpenGL GPU, the GLINT 300SX. They have just released a multimedia-processor, which is an ARM-processor with pretty interesting graphic capabilities.

They have an “early access program for OpenCL” for their ZMS product line.

Movidia

On their Technology overview-page they imply they have flexible accelerators in their designs, which *could* in the future be controlled by OpenCL-kernels. They manufacture mobile GPUs-plus-loads-of-extras which are quite impressive.

Texas Instruments

Besides ARM-based processors they also have DSPs. We watch them, for which product they have OpenCL in mind.

Qualcomm

They might be most famous for their ARM-based Snapdragon-chipset. They have much more products, but we think they start with Snapdragon before building OpenCL in other products.

Apple

The Apple A4 powers their new products, the iPad. It becomes more and more clear Apple has really learned that you cannot rely on one supplier, after waiting for IBM’s G6. With OpenCL Apple can now make software that works on ARM, all kind of GPUs and CPUs.

Samsung

They make anything that is fed by batteries, so for that reason they should be in the “other” category: mobile phones, mp3-players, photo-cameras, camcorders, laptops, TVs, DVD-players and Bluray-players. All products where OpenCL can wield.

A good reason to make their own semi-conductors, ARM-based.

In the beginning of June 2010 they have launched their own Linux-based OS for mobiles: Bada.

Broadcom

Manufactures networking and communications ICs for data, voice, and video applications. They could use OpenCL for their mobile multimedia processors.

Seaweed

Since September acquired by Presagis. We cannot be sure they continue the OpenCL-business of Seaweed, but at least GPGPU is mentioned once.

Presagis is “the worldwide leader in embedded graphics solutions for mission-critical display applications.  The company has provided human-machine interface (HMI) graphical modeling tools, drivers and devices for embedded systems for over 20 years. Presagis pioneered both the prototyping of display graphics and automatic code generation for embedded systems in the 1990s. Since then, code generated by its flagship HMI modeling products  has been deployed to hundreds of aircraft worldwide and its software has been certified on over 30 major aircraft programs worldwide.   Presagis is your trusted partner for reliable, high-performance embedded graphics products and services.”

ST Microelectronics

ST has many products: “Singapore Technologies Electronics is a leader in ICT. It has main businesses in Enterprise, Satellite Communications and Interactive Digital Media. It is divided into several Strategic Business Units consisting of Info-Comms, Info-Software, Training and Simulation, Electro-Optics, Large Scale Group, Satcom & Sensor Systems.”

We think they’ve shown interest for OpenCL for use with their Imaging processors. Together with Ericsson they have a joint-venture in de mobile market, ST-Ericsson.

Handheld Manufacturers

While most companies will find it hard to make OpenCL-business in the consumer-market, consumer-products of other companies make sales a little bit warmer.

Apple

At least the iPad and iPhone have hardware-capabilities of running OpenCL. It is expected that it will come available in the next major release of the iPhone-OS, iOS 4. We’re waiting for more news.

Nokia

The largest manufacturer of mobile phones from Finland has a lot of technology. Besides smartphones, possibly a netbook (in cooperation with Intel) they also have Symbian and the QT-library. Since a while QT has support for OpenCL. We think the support of OpenCL in programming languages (in a more high-level way) is very important. See these slides to read some insights of the company.

Motorola

They have consumer products like mobile phones and business products like networking. It is not clear where they are going to use OpenCL for, since they mostly use other companies’ technologies.

Super-computers

While OpenCL can revive old computers once upgraded with a new GPU, imagine what they can do with Super-computers.

IBM

IBM builds super-computers based on different technologies. With OpenCL-support for their Power VMX and PowerXCell8i processors, it is already possible to use OpenCL with IBM-hardware.

Fujitsu

They have many products, but they also make super-computers which use GPGPU.

Los Alamos National Laboratory

They build super-computers and really can use the extra power.

A job-post talks about heterogeneous architectures and OpenCL.

Petapath

Petapath, founded in 2008, focuses on delivering innovative hardware and software solutions into the high performance computing (HPC) and embedded markets. As can be seen from their homepage they build grids.

NVIDIA

As a newcomer in the super-computer business, they do very well having helped to build the #2 HPC. Many clusters are upgraded with their streaming-processors.

Other Hardware

We don’t know what they are actually doing with the technology, purely because they are to big to make assumptions.

GE

US-based electronics-giant General Electronics builds everything there is, fed by electricity and now also GPGPU-powered solutions as can be found on their GPGPU-page. They probably switched to CUDA.

ST-Ericsson

Ericsson together with ST they have a joint-venture in de mobile market, ST-Ericsson. Ericssson is big in (mobile) networking. It also builds mobile phones with Sony. It is unclear what the joint-venture wants to do with the technology, but it must be mobile.

Software Developers

While OpenCL is very close to hardware, we have to talk software too. Did anybody say there is a strict line between hardware and software?

Graphic Remedy

Builders of debugging software. You will hear later more from us about this company soon. See something about debugging in this presentation.

RapidMind

RapidMind provided a software product that aims to make it simpler for software developers to target multi-core processors and accelerators (GPUs). It was acquired by Intel in august 2009.

HI

Japanese corporation HI has a product MascotCapsule, which is a real-time 3D rendering engine (native library) that runs on embedded devices. We see names of other companies, except SMedia. If you’re not familiar with mobile GPUs, here you have a list.

This is another big hint, OpenCL will have a big future on mobile devices.

MascotCapsule V4 product specification

Operating
environment
CPU ARM: ARM9 or above
Freescale: i.MX Series
Marvell: XScale
Qualcomm: MSM6280/6550/7200/7500 etc.
Renesas Technology: SH-Mobile etc.
Texas Instruments: OMAP
32-bit 150 MHz or above is recommended
(Capable of running without a floating-point hardware)
Code size Approx. 200 KB
Engine
work area
2 MB or more is recommended, including data load area
Note: The actual required work area varies depending on the content
3D hardware
accelerator
ATI: Imageon
Imagination Technologies: PowerVR MBX/MBX Lite/SGX
NVIDIA: GoForce
SMedia: Glamo
TAKUMI: GSHARK
Toshiba: T4G/T5G
Other OpenGL ES compliant 3D accelerators
OS/platforms BREW, iPhone, iPod touch, ITRON, Java, Linux, Symbian OS, Windows CE, Windows Mobile
3D authoring tools 3ds Max 9.0/2008/2009/2010
Maya 8.5/2008/2009/2010
LightWave3D 7.5 or later
SOFTIMAGE|XSI 5.x/6.x/7.0

Codeplay

They are most famous for their compilers for the Playstation. They also make code-analysis software.

QNX

From their homepage: “Middleware, development tools, realtime operating systemsoftware and services for superior embedded design”. Their real-time OS in all kinds of embedded products and they might want to see ways to support specialised low-power chips.

RIM acquired QNX in april 2010.

Fixstars

Newcomer in the list 2010. Famous for their PS3-Linux and for their OpenCL-book. They also have FOXC, Fixstars OpenCL Cross Compiler. They have written one of the few books for OpenCL.

Kestrel Institute

http://www.kestrel.edu/ does not show anything GPGPU. We’ll probably hear from them when the next version of their Specware-product is finished.

Game Designers

Physics-calculations and AI are too demanding to do on a CPU. The game-industry keeps pushing the GPU-industry, but now on a different way than in the 90’s.

Electronic Arts

This game-studio builds loads and loads of games with impressive AI. See these slides to see what EA thinks GPGPU can do.

Activision Blizzard

Yes, they are one company now, so now they are together famous for best-selling hit “World of Warcraft”. Currently not much is known where they use OpenCL for, but probably the same as EA.

Thank you for your interest in this article

If you know more about OpenCL at these companies or job-posts, please let us know via comment or via e-mail.

We’ve made some assumptions about what these companies use OpenCL for – we need your feedback!