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5/28/2009
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Intel Tools Driving Multi-Core Chip Development

Parallel Studio is intended to work with Microsoft Visual Studio for development of Windows applications intended to run on servers with multicore CPUs.

Intel this week said it has combined its parallel programming design tool, Composer, with an Inspector tool and an Amplifier tool to produce Intel Parallel Studio for C and C++ programmers.

Intel Parallel Studio is intended to work with Microsoft Visual Studio for development of Windows applications intended to run on servers with multicore CPUs. Four-core CPUs are currently in production, with six and eight core lines expected before the end of the year from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.

With Intel Parallel Studio, Windows application programmers will be able to generate applications that run in parallel segments, or different processes running simultaneously, on Intel multicore chips. Each core is capable of processing two threads in Intel's latest Xeon 5500 chips, so a two-way, quad-core server (eight cores total) could process 16 threads or 16 separate parts of a single program concurrently, if it's been designed for parallel processing.

Such techniques promise to bring about a large increase in speed of execution, said James Reinders, director of the software developer products business at Intel.

"Applications are only just starting to appear that are optimized to make best use of these [multicore] systems," he said in an announcement yesterday of Parallel Studio's availability.

Parallel Composer provides C and C++ compilers, code libraries, and an extension to the Visual Studio debugger to allow it to debug parallelized applications. Composer also provides an Intel API, OpenMP, through which a program may connect to the parallel processing capabilities built into Intel chips.

Parallel Inspector provides analysis of newly written code, checking for threading and memory errors. It uses dynamic instrumentation so code may be reviewed and tested as its written, without test builds or complete system recompiles being run. The inspections are done inside Visual Studio's development environment.

Parallel Amplifier is an intuitive performance analyzer -- it doesn't need to know the details of the chip architecture. It can identify bottlenecks in threaded Windows applications and allow further tuning of the application.

Continuing to use tools "designed for single-core processor systems will not yield good results," Reinders warned.

Intel is one of the vendors working with the U.S. Air Force to convert an Air Force Space Command Project from a mainframe to a Xeon processor environment. Other vendors involved in the project include Rogue Wave and Mitre, a federally funded research center.

The Intel parallel processing toolset was announced at Intel's Swindon, United Kingdom, development lab Wednesday. It's available through Intel resellers listed on Intel's site. Parallel Studio is priced at $799. Each tool is available as a standalone product for $399.


InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis on increasing application performance. Download the report here (registration required).

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