Intel Flexes Parallel Programming Muscles

By Michael Feldman

September 2, 2010

Intel Corp has released Parallel Studio 2011, a set of four tools designed to mainstream software development on multicore x86 architectures. This is the second version of the software development suite, building on top of the original Parallel Studio offering introduced in May 2009. The update folds in a number of parallel programming technologies that the company has acquired or developed independently over the past few years, including the Cilk Arts and RapidMind technologies, and Intel’s own Ct data parallel language framework.

Like its predecessor, Parallel Studio 2011 is available as a set of plug-ins to Microsoft’s Visual Studio. As such, it is aimed at the Windows C/ C++ crowd, but some of the technology will soon migrate into Intel’s purpose-built HPC offerings as well. More about that in a bit.

The new release is designed as a soup to nuts development suite that encompasses the entire programming workflow: design, build, debug, verify and tune. To support that range of capabilities, Intel has brought over the three original tools, Parallel Inspector, Parallel Amplifier, and Parallel Composer; thrown in an additional one, Parallel Advisor; and introduced an integrated multicore programming environment, known as Parallel Building Blocks (PBB).

Looking at the elements inherited from the original suite, Composer is still the central development tool, and includes the compilers and libraries needed for code production. It now also incorporates the aforementioned PBB, which is new for this release. The Amplifier tool is used to find hot spots and make sure application performance scales properly when parallelization is applied. Finally, the Inspector tool performs memory checking and uncovers thread error conditions, specifically, data races and deadlocks.

The most notable new capability of the 2011 offering is wrapped up in Parallel Building Blocks. Prior to this release, Parallel Studio apps could use Intel’s Threading Building Blocks (TBB), OpenMP, or the Windows threading API to parallelize software. In the new release, Intel has retained the TBB framework and added two other parallel frameworks: Cilk Plus and Array Building Blocks (ABB). All three are built on top of top of Microsoft’s Concurrency Runtime, which was introduced with Visual Studio 2010. The runtime acts as a resource manager that glues all these frameworks together so they can play nicely with one another within the same app.

Threading Building Blocks is Intel’s original high-level framework for task parallelism on multicore x86. It was introduced three years ago, and is now considered one of the leading parallel development environments for C/C++. It’s implemented as a C++ template library and is used across many computing segments, including technical computing. To complement TBB, Intel has added Array Building Blocks, another C++ template library, but in this case for data parallelism.

If this sounds a bit like Intel’s Ct (C/C++ for throughput computing), that’s because it essentially is. Intel has folded their Ct language technology, along with the RapidMind technology they acquired a year ago, into ABB. Currently in beta, Intel is planning the full ABB product release for next year.

Cilk Plus is the other programming framework that has been productized for Parallel Studio. It’s sort of the odd one out. The technology was acquired when Intel bought Cilk Arts at about the same time as the RapidMind buy. Cilk, the language, is an extension of C/C++ that includes extra keywords to specify parallelism. Cilk Plus adds C/C++ extensions for array notation and represents a solution that incorporates both task and data parallelism. In this framework, the source code is statically compiled (which differentiates it from the more dynamic runtime implementations of TBB and ABB), making it the first choice if lower runtime overhead and a less intrusive coding model is preferred.

Finally, the new Advisor tool helps programmers expedite the design phase of parallel programming. It has been available in beta (as Parallel Advisor Lite) since last May, but is now ready for prime time. Its central purpose is to guide developers through a process that helps them transition their sequential codes into parallel ones.

Each tool can be purchased separately for $399 or bought as a complete package for $799. At that price, the package deal obviously makes sense if you buy two or more tools. And since Composer, which contains the parallel compilers and libraries, is mandatory for code development, once you opt for an additional tool, you might as well take the whole package.

Although Parallel Studio is targeted to C/C++ developers on the Windows client, some of the technology will end up in Intel’s HPC cluster toolset as well. According to Bill Savage, Intel’s vice president and general manager of the General Products Division, Software and Services Group, the Parallel Building Blocks programming frameworks, in particular, will be integrated into Intel’s compilers and runtime libraries aimed at high performance computing applications . The idea is to be able to use the PBB technology for programming the multicore nodes within a distributed MPI-type application. That will entail making these frameworks Fortran- and Linux-friendly, and at some point, adding compiler support for Intel’s Many Integrated Core (MIC), aka Knights Ferry, architecture. Savage said some of this technology will show up in Intel’s HPC portfolio later this year.

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!

Nvidia Shares Recipe to Accelerate AI Cloud Adoption

May 29, 2017

In March, Nvidia revealed blueprints for a new open source Tesla GPU-based accelerator – HGX-1 – developed for clouds with Microsoft under its Project Olym Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Doug Kothe on the Race to Build Exascale Applications

May 29, 2017

Ensuring there are applications ready to churn out useful science when the first U.S. exascale computers arrive in the 2021-2023 timeframe is Doug Kothe’s job Read more…

By John Russell

PRACEdays Reflects Europe’s HPC Commitment

May 25, 2017

More than 250 attendees and participants came together for PRACEdays17 in Barcelona last week, part of the European HPC Summit Week 2017, held May 15-19 at t Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Russian Researchers Claim First Quantum-Safe Blockchain

May 25, 2017

The Russian Quantum Center today announced it has overcome the threat of quantum cryptography by creating the first quantum-safe blockchain, securing cryptocurr Read more…

By Doug Black

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Exploring the Three Models of Remote Visualization

The explosion of data and advancement of digital technologies are dramatically changing the way many companies do business. With the help of high performance computing (HPC) solutions and data analytics platforms, manufacturers are developing products faster, healthcare providers are improving patient care, and energy companies are improving planning, exploration, and production. Read more…

Google Debuts TPU v2 and will Add to Google Cloud

May 25, 2017

Not long after stirring attention in the deep learning/AI community by revealing the details of its Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), Google last week announced the Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia CEO Predicts AI ‘Cambrian Explosion’

May 25, 2017

The processing power and cloud access to developer tools used to train machine-learning models are making artificial intelligence ubiquitous across computing pl Read more…

By George Leopold

PGAS Use will Rise on New H/W Trends, Says Reinders

May 25, 2017

If you have not already tried using PGAS, it is time to consider adding PGAS to the programming techniques you know. Partitioned Global Array Space, commonly kn Read more…

By James Reinders

Exascale Escapes 2018 Budget Axe; Rest of Science Suffers

May 23, 2017

President Trump's proposed $4.1 trillion FY 2018 budget is good for U.S. exascale computing development, but grim for the rest of science and technology spend Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Shares Recipe to Accelerate AI Cloud Adoption

May 29, 2017

In March, Nvidia revealed blueprints for a new open source Tesla GPU-based accelerator – HGX-1 – developed for clouds with Microsoft under its Project Olym Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Doug Kothe on the Race to Build Exascale Applications

May 29, 2017

Ensuring there are applications ready to churn out useful science when the first U.S. exascale computers arrive in the 2021-2023 timeframe is Doug Kothe’s job Read more…

By John Russell

PRACEdays Reflects Europe’s HPC Commitment

May 25, 2017

More than 250 attendees and participants came together for PRACEdays17 in Barcelona last week, part of the European HPC Summit Week 2017, held May 15-19 at t Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

PGAS Use will Rise on New H/W Trends, Says Reinders

May 25, 2017

If you have not already tried using PGAS, it is time to consider adding PGAS to the programming techniques you know. Partitioned Global Array Space, commonly kn Read more…

By James Reinders

Exascale Escapes 2018 Budget Axe; Rest of Science Suffers

May 23, 2017

President Trump's proposed $4.1 trillion FY 2018 budget is good for U.S. exascale computing development, but grim for the rest of science and technology spend Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cray Offers Supercomputing as a Service, Targets Biotechs First

May 16, 2017

Leading supercomputer vendor Cray and datacenter/cloud provider the Markley Group today announced plans to jointly deliver supercomputing as a service. The init Read more…

By John Russell

HPE’s Memory-centric The Machine Coming into View, Opens ARMs to 3rd-party Developers

May 16, 2017

Announced three years ago, HPE’s The Machine is said to be the largest R&D program in the venerable company’s history, one that could be progressing tow Read more…

By Doug Black

What’s Up with Hyperion as It Transitions From IDC?

May 15, 2017

If you’re wondering what’s happening with Hyperion Research – formerly the IDC HPC group – apparently you are not alone, says Steve Conway, now senior V Read more…

By John Russell

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Just how close real-wo Read more…

By John Russell

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the cam Read more…

By John Russell

Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip

April 6, 2017

This week Google released a report detailing the design and performance characteristics of the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), its custom ASIC for the inference Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

Since our first formal product releases of OSPRay and OpenSWR libraries in 2016, CPU-based Software Defined Visualization (SDVis) has achieved wide-spread adopt Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Last week, Google reported that its custom ASIC Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) was 15-30x faster for inferencing workloads than Nvidia's K80 GPU (see our coverage Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a ne Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Facebook Open Sources Caffe2; Nvidia, Intel Rush to Optimize

April 18, 2017

From its F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif., today, Facebook announced Caffe2, a new open-source, cross-platform framework for deep learning. Caffe2 is Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which w Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling Read more…

By Steve Campbell

MIT Mathematician Spins Up 220,000-Core Google Compute Cluster

April 21, 2017

On Thursday, Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland had set a record for the largest Google Compute Eng Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Supercomputing Leaders Tackle the China Question

March 15, 2017

As China continues to prove its supercomputing mettle via the Top500 list and the forward march of its ambitious plans to stand up an exascale machine by 2020, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu's Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural networ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

DOE Supercomputer Achieves Record 45-Qubit Quantum Simulation

April 13, 2017

In order to simulate larger and larger quantum systems and usher in an age of "quantum supremacy," researchers are stretching the limits of today's most advance Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Knights Landing Processor with Omni-Path Makes Cloud Debut

April 18, 2017

HPC cloud specialist Rescale is partnering with Intel and HPC resource provider R Systems to offer first-ever cloud access to Xeon Phi "Knights Landing" process Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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