updated 07:45 pm EST, Wed November 19, 2008
OpenCL built in 6 months
Khronos Group and its alliance of associated companies have managed to build the OpenCL programming standard in just six months, according to Macworld. OpenCL (Open Computing Language) is a standard for parallel programming, which could serve as the foundation for a variety of devices and applications, without the limitations of platform-dependent or closed architecture.
“If you go to some other larger standards bodies, it’s quite normal for a standard to take five years or more,” said Neil Trevett, CEO of Khronos. The team pushed the limit in order to meet Apple's time-frame for consideration in the next release of OS X, Snow Leopard.
“The fact that if we could hit this impossible deadline [Apple] would support it in Snow Leopard was a huge plus to us,” said Tim Mattson of Intel.
Although the bulk share of technical work has been completed, time will still be given for other companies and lawyers to investigate any intellectual property issues. The collaboration was announced in June, bringing together industry leaders including 3DLabs, AMD, NVIDIA, Intel, ARM, Freescale, and Qualcomm.
OpenCL framework takes advantage of mult-cored CPUs and GPUs, aiming to drive the parallel computing market. The standard is royalty-free and open, with a wide range of potential applications, from mobile phones to DSPs. To keep a certain amount of integrity, implementations will be tested before the trademark can be used.
The standard would allow many process-intensive tasks to run faster with the CPU, or off-load part of the work to another processor. Developers could use OpenCL to enhance games, video or image editing software, and even basic computer functions. The team chose to use a C-based language that many programmers are familiar with.
Khronos has not provided an exact date for the official public release. Apple has already announced the inclusion of OpenCL in Snow Leopard, but the necessary ratification process has just begun. Meanwhile, Microsoft continues to work on its rival standard, DirectX 11.