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Intel Software: as Impressive as the Processors

May 4, 2012

Last month I had the privilege of attending Intel’s Software Conference in Istanbul and came away very impressed by the new architectures that were presented.  Now of course it’s hard to keep up with all that Intel is doing.  They are a company that is continually innovating and moving  the industry along with them.

One of the presentations dwelt on MIC (Many Integrated Core) technology.  This architecture is optimized for highly parallelized high compute situations.   Knight’s Ferry, the first MIC architecture processor, sports 32 cores supporting 128 threads with a SIMD width of 512.  Built for very intensive computing, this MIC processor is already in use by several large enterprises including the Mayo clinic and will likely dominate the data center as we go forward.  But the company that never rests also presented the specs for Knight’s Corner – a monster processor that will have over 50 cores and 200 threads.

But this conference was about software and Intel has a very able and innovative software group to support those processors.  Cilk Plus provides an elegant solution for vector level parallelism, while Parallel Studio and Cluster Studio provide solid foundation for multi-threading and creating parallel apps.  And the venerable Threading Building Blocks hasn’t lost any steam.  After six years it is still the top library for parallelizing applications because it is continually be updated and improved.

So I came away convinced that Intel’s software is just as dynamic and innovative as its hardware – quite a feat!

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