It is completely disheartening, but not at all unexpected, to learn that Microsoft is continuing to work on a rival to OpenCL rather than embrace it and join the rest of the industry around this standard. OpenCL promises to speed the drive towards parallel computing in the overall computing market, including desktops, mobiles and handheld devices such as those powered by ARM chips. Initiated by Apple and handed over to the open standards industry group, Khronos Group, the OpenCL programming language has been defined in just six months, according to a report on Electronista and Macworld.
“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 who has worked on the standard.
OpenCL, which stands for Open Computing Language enables compute-intensive applications to take advantage of both multi-core CPU’s and today’s very powerful GPU’s (graphics processing units). It is C-based (language) for wide inclusion within the programming market and is fully open and royalty-free. OpenCL is managed by the Khronos Group (like OpenGL is) and is backed by leading tech giants such as Apple, Intel, AMD, ARM, Freescale, Qualcomm, 3DLabs and others.