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!

SRC Spends $200M on University Research Centers

January 16, 2018

The Semiconductor Research Corporation, as part of its JUMP initiative, has awarded $200 million to fund six research centers whose areas of focus span cognitive computing, memory-centric computing, high-speed communicat Read more…

By John Russell

US Seeks to Automate Video Analysis

January 16, 2018

U.S. military and intelligence agencies continue to look for new ways to use artificial intelligence to sift through huge amounts of video imagery in hopes of freeing analysts to identify threats and otherwise put their Read more…

By George Leopold

URISC@SC17 and the #LongestLastMile

January 11, 2018

A multinational delegation recently attended the Understanding Risk in Shared CyberEcosystems workshop, or URISC@SC17, in Denver, Colorado. URISC participants and presenters from 11 countries, including eight African nations, 12 U.S. states, Canada, India and Nepal, also attended SC17, the annual international conference for high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis that drew nearly 13,000 attendees. Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake, STEM-Trek Nonprofit

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE and NREL Take Steps to Create a Sustainable, Energy-Efficient Data Center with an H2 Fuel Cell

As enterprises attempt to manage rising volumes of data, unplanned data center outages are becoming more common and more expensive. As the cost of downtime rises, enterprises lose out on productivity and valuable competitive advantage without access to their critical data. Read more…

When the Chips Are Down

January 11, 2018

In the last article, "The High Stakes Semiconductor Game that Drives HPC Diversity," I alluded to the challenges facing the semiconductor industry and how that may impact the evolution of HPC systems over the next few years. I thought I’d lift the covers a little and look at some of the commercial challenges that impact the component technology we use in HPC. Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

SRC Spends $200M on University Research Centers

January 16, 2018

The Semiconductor Research Corporation, as part of its JUMP initiative, has awarded $200 million to fund six research centers whose areas of focus span cognitiv Read more…

By John Russell

When the Chips Are Down

January 11, 2018

In the last article, "The High Stakes Semiconductor Game that Drives HPC Diversity," I alluded to the challenges facing the semiconductor industry and how that may impact the evolution of HPC systems over the next few years. I thought I’d lift the covers a little and look at some of the commercial challenges that impact the component technology we use in HPC. Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

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

Momentum Builds for US Exascale

January 9, 2018

2018 looks to be a great year for the U.S. exascale program. The last several months of 2017 revealed a number of important developments that help put the U.S. Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

ANL’s Rick Stevens on CANDLE, ARM, Quantum, and More

January 8, 2018

Late last year HPCwire caught up with Rick Stevens, associate laboratory director for computing, environment and life Sciences at Argonne National Laboratory, f Read more…

By John Russell

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

The @hpcnotes Predictions for HPC in 2018

January 4, 2018

I’m not averse to making predictions about the world of High Performance Computing (and Supercomputing, Cloud, etc.) in person at conferences, meetings, causa Read more…

By Andrew Jones

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

US Coalesces Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer: Aurora in 2021

September 27, 2017

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, in Arlington, Va., yesterday (Sept. 26), it was revealed that the "Aurora" supercompute Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Showcases Growing Portfolio of EPYC and Radeon-based Systems at SC17

November 13, 2017

AMD’s charge back into HPC and the datacenter is on full display at SC17. Having launched the EPYC processor line in June along with its MI25 GPU the focus he Read more…

By John Russell

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

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

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

GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue 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

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

Tensors Come of Age: Why the AI Revolution Will Help HPC

November 13, 2017

Thirty years ago, parallel computing was coming of age. A bitter battle began between stalwart vector computing supporters and advocates of various approaches to parallel computing. IBM skeptic Alan Karp, reacting to announcements of nCUBE’s 1024-microprocessor system and Thinking Machines’ 65,536-element array, made a public $100 wager that no one could get a parallel speedup of over 200 on real HPC workloads. Read more…

By John Gustafson & Lenore Mullin

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Flipping the Flops and Reading the Top500 Tea Leaves

November 13, 2017

The 50th edition of the Top500 list, the biannual publication of the world’s fastest supercomputers based on public Linpack benchmarking results, was released Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

HPC Chips – A Veritable Smorgasbord?

October 10, 2017

For the first time since AMD's ill-fated launch of Bulldozer the answer to the question, 'Which CPU will be in my next HPC system?' doesn't have to be 'Whichever variety of Intel Xeon E5 they are selling when we procure'. Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

Nvidia, Partners Announce Several V100 Servers

September 27, 2017

Here come the Volta 100-based servers. Nvidia today announced an impressive line-up of servers from major partners – Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Delivers 17-Qubit Quantum Chip to European Research Partner

October 10, 2017

On Tuesday, Intel delivered a 17-qubit superconducting test chip to research partner QuTech, the quantum research institute of Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands. The announcement marks a major milestone in the 10-year, $50-million collaborative relationship with TU Delft and TNO, the Dutch Organization for Applied Research, to accelerate advancements in quantum computing. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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