NVIDIA Launches GPGPU Plug-In for Visual Studio

By Michael Feldman

July 22, 2010

After a nine-month gestation in beta, NVIDIA has delivered version 1.0 of Parallel Nsight, the company’s GPU computing development plug-in for Microsoft’s Visual Studio. The product consists of a set of debugging and analysis tools that enables Windows developers to play with their GPU compute and graphics apps in the popular Visual Studio IDE. Coincident with the Nsight launch, NVIDIA is also offering a point release (version 3.1) of its CUDA software development kit.

The idea behind Nsight is to ramp up GPU computing application development and NVIDIA figured the shortest route was through Microsoft’s uber-popular Visual Studio environment. NVIDIA has been working hard to support GPGPU development, mainly via its CUDA compiler kit and other development tools. Over 600 thousand CUDA toolkits have been downloaded over the past two years, and 8 thousand registered for the Parallel Nsight beta program. But considering more than 6 million developers are using Visual Studio today, the upside for expanding GPU computing development via Windows is potentially huge.

On the compute side, Nsight supports debugging of CUDA C/C++ apps, which is what the vast majority NVIDIA’s customers are using for GPGPU. According to Sanford Russell, GM of GPU Computing at NVIDIA, they have plans to support OpenCL and DirectCompute down the road, but obviously wanted to go with their flagship GPU language on the first release. “We’ve got a ton of CUDA C customers,” he said.

Even though this is the maiden voyage for Parallel Nsight, the development tools upon which it is based have been around for awhile. Essentially NVIDIA integrated its existing GPU computing tools (nvcc, cuda-gdb, cuda-memcheck, Visual Profiler, and cudaprof) and graphics computing tools (FX Composer, Shader Debugger, PerfHUD, ShaderPerf, and Platform Analyzer) into the Video Studio framework. Since these components are anywhere from two to six years old, the toolset behind Nsight is relatively mature.

Nsight is being released in standard and professional editions, with the latter requiring you to fork over some cash. This is not exactly typical for NVIDIA, which tends to give away its development tools for free in order to grease the wheels for hardware sales. But Nsight is a more highly polished product than say a standalone driver or compiler, so NVIDIA has apparently decided recoup some its development costs through a paid licensing scheme. That said, licenses for the Pro version will be provided free of charge to NVIDIA’s academic partners, including any of the 11 CUDA Centers of Excellence, 5 CUDA Research Centers, 7 CUDA Teaching Centers, or any group in the Academic Partnership Program.

A detailed description of features, tools and licensing is laid out on NVIDIA’s Parallel Nsight Web page, so I won’t rehash it all here. However, it’s probably worth mentioning what’s missing from this first release.

Besides no debugger for OpenCL and DirectCompute mentioned above, the big omission in 1.0 is any support for Linux. That’s not too surprising considering this is a Windows product. But since Nsight does have a network capability that supports code debugging, analysis and inspection on a remote machine, they could have added a Linux target monitor that talked to the Windows Nsight host. That would also necessitate supporting a Linux cross-development environment on Windows.

Whether NVIDIA will ever support such a beast or a pure Linux host/target version of Nsight is not clear. The standalone GPU development tools that were integrated into Visual Studio are already available on Linux, just not as part of an integrated development environment (IDE) like Visual Studio. Now if you’re an old-time Linux programmer, you don’t need any stinking IDE anyway, so that’s just as well. In fact, you don’t even need a debugger; printf will do just fine, which, by the way, NVIDIA has conveniently added to the latest CUDA SDK.

But there are probably a number of developers who wouldn’t mind seeing an Eclipse IDE version of Nsight on Linux, and certainly would like to see target support for Linux cluster nodes, considering Windows has only about a 10 percent share of HPC platforms at this point. Sanford said the Windows downloads of the CUDA toolkit currently outnumber Linux downloads by about two-to-one. According to Sanford, in some cases, programmers will do code development, debugging and testing on Windows desktops and then recompile the code when they need to expand the problem size and run it on their Linux cluster.

As of now, debugging and analyzing applications can only be accomplished on a single target machine. GPU cluster support is not available. Neither is concurrent CPU-GPU debugging — you either do one or the other — although a future version of Nsight will likely include an integrated heterogeneous debugging capability.

“That’s why we call it a 1.0,” said Sanford. “There’s a long roadmap ahead.”

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Mellanox Reacts to Activist Investor Pressures in Letter to Shareholders

March 16, 2018

Activist investor Starboard Value has been exerting pressure on Mellanox Technologies to increase its returns. In response, the high-performance networking company on Monday, March 12, published a letter to shareholders outlining its proposal for a May 2018 extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of shareholders and highlighting its long-term growth strategy and focus on operating margin improvement. Read more…

By Staff

Quantum Computing vs. Our ‘Caveman Newtonian Brain’: Why Quantum Is So Hard

March 15, 2018

Quantum is coming. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon enough. Within 10 to 12 years, we’re told, special-purpose quantum systems will enter the commercial realm. Assuming this happens, we can also assume that quantum will, over extended time, become increasingly general purpose as it delivers mind-blowing power. Read more…

By Doug Black

How the Cloud Is Falling Short for HPC

March 15, 2018

The last couple of years have seen cloud computing gradually build some legitimacy within the HPC world, but still the HPC industry lies far behind enterprise IT in its willingness to outsource computational power. The m Read more…

By Chris Downing

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Achieve Optimal Performance at Scale with High Performance Fabrics for HPC

High Performance Computing (HPC) is unlocking a new era of speed and productivity to fuel business transformation. Rapid advancements in HPC capabilities are helping organizations operate faster and more effectively than ever, but in today’s fast-paced marketplace, a new generation of technologies is required to reach greater scalability and cost-efficiency. Read more…

Stephen Hawking, Legendary Scientist, Dies at 76

March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking passed away at his home in Cambridge, England, in the early morning of March 14; he was 76. Born on January 8, 1942, Hawking was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and director of resea Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How the Cloud Is Falling Short for HPC

March 15, 2018

The last couple of years have seen cloud computing gradually build some legitimacy within the HPC world, but still the HPC industry lies far behind enterprise I Read more…

By Chris Downing

Stephen Hawking, Legendary Scientist, Dies at 76

March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking passed away at his home in Cambridge, England, in the early morning of March 14; he was 76. Born on January 8, 1942, Hawking was an English theo Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Hyperion Tackles Elusive Quantum Computing Landscape

March 13, 2018

Quantum computing - exciting and off-putting all at once - is a kaleidoscope of technology and market questions whose shapes and positions are far from settled. Read more…

By John Russell

Part Two: Navigating Life Sciences Choppy HPC Waters in 2018

March 8, 2018

2017 was not necessarily the best year to build a large HPC system for life sciences say Ari Berman, VP and GM of consulting services, and Aaron Gardner, direct Read more…

By John Russell

Google Chases Quantum Supremacy with 72-Qubit Processor

March 7, 2018

Google pulled ahead of the pack this week in the race toward "quantum supremacy," with the introduction of a new 72-qubit quantum processor called Bristlecone. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SciNet Launches Niagara, Canada’s Fastest Supercomputer

March 5, 2018

SciNet and the University of Toronto today unveiled "Niagara," Canada's most-powerful supercomputer, comprising 1,500 dense Lenovo ThinkSystem SD530 high-perfor Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Part One: Deep Dive into 2018 Trends in Life Sciences HPC

March 1, 2018

Life sciences is an interesting lens through which to see HPC. It is perhaps not an obvious choice, given life sciences’ relative newness as a heavy user of H Read more…

By John Russell

Alibaba Cloud Launches ‘Bare Metal,’ HPC Instances in Europe

February 28, 2018

Alibaba, the e-commerce giant from China, is taking a run at AWS in the global public cloud computing market with new offerings aimed at the surging demand for Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Inventor Claims to Have Solved Floating Point Error Problem

January 17, 2018

"The decades-old floating point error problem has been solved," proclaims a press release from inventor Alan Jorgensen. The computer scientist has filed for and Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Japan Unveils Quantum Neural Network

November 22, 2017

The U.S. and China are leading the race toward productive quantum computing, but it's early enough that ultimate leadership is still something of an open questi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Researchers Measure Impact of ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Patches on HPC Workloads

January 17, 2018

Computer scientists from the Center for Computational Research, State University of New York (SUNY), University at Buffalo have examined the effect of Meltdown Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fast Forward: Five HPC Predictions for 2018

December 21, 2017

What’s on your list of high (and low) lights for 2017? Volta 100’s arrival on the heels of the P100? Appearance, albeit late in the year, of IBM’s Power9? Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Russian Nuclear Engineers Caught Cryptomining on Lab Supercomputer

February 12, 2018

Nuclear scientists working at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) have been arrested for using lab supercomputing resources to mine crypto-currency, according to a report in Russia’s Interfax News Agency. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Chip Flaws ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Loom Large

January 4, 2018

The HPC and wider tech community have been abuzz this week over the discovery of critical design flaws that impact virtually all contemporary microprocessors. T Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

GlobalFoundries, Ayar Labs Team Up to Commercialize Optical I/O

December 4, 2017

GlobalFoundries (GF) and Ayar Labs, a startup focused on using light, instead of electricity, to transfer data between chips, today announced they've entered in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How Meltdown and Spectre Patches Will Affect HPC Workloads

January 10, 2018

There have been claims that the fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, named the KPTI (aka KAISER) patches, are going to affect applicatio Read more…

By Rosemary Francis

Perspective: What Really Happened at SC17?

November 22, 2017

SC is over. Now comes the myriad of follow-ups. Inboxes are filled with templated emails from vendors and other exhibitors hoping to win a place in the post-SC thinking of booth visitors. Attendees of tutorials, workshops and other technical sessions will be inundated with requests for feedback. Read more…

By Andrew Jones

V100 Good but not Great on Select Deep Learning Aps, Says Xcelerit

November 27, 2017

Wringing optimum performance from hardware to accelerate deep learning applications is a challenge that often depends on the specific application in use. A benc Read more…

By John Russell

Lenovo Unveils Warm Water Cooled ThinkSystem SD650 in Rampup to LRZ Install

February 22, 2018

This week Lenovo took the wraps off the ThinkSystem SD650 high-density server with third-generation direct water cooling technology developed in tandem with par Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Wins Another: Baidu to Deploy EPYC on Single Socket Servers

December 13, 2017

When AMD introduced its EPYC chip line in June, the company said a portion of the line was specifically designed to re-invigorate a single socket segment in wha Read more…

By John Russell

World Record: Quantum Computer with 46 Qubits Simulated

December 18, 2017

Scientists from the Jülich Supercomputing Centre have set a new world record. Together with researchers from Wuhan University and the University of Groningen, Read more…

New Blueprint for Converging HPC, Big Data

January 18, 2018

After five annual workshops on Big Data and Extreme-Scale Computing (BDEC), a group of international HPC heavyweights including Jack Dongarra (University of Te Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This