Technical Sessions in Brief

>> Saturday, June 16, 2012

All of the topics at the AFDS were enlightening, but there were four that I found noteworthy:

  • Code XL is a development tool that can debug and profile applications on CPUs and GPUs. Avi Shapira showed how Code XL tabulates data for every work item executing a kernel. AMD will release the tool in a few weeks, and I can't wait. I've been trying to figure out which routines should be performed by kernels versus shaders, and this will be a big help.

  • Edward Callway explained how the Fusion APU can be integrated in hardware. I was amazed by how small the Fusion-based desktop computers were, and if the Fusion can be used in embedded devices, that will be a wonderful thing.

  • Kenneth Russell, Google's only presenter, discussed the Chrome browser and its reliance on WebGL for graphics. The talk was interesting, but the topic of WebCL was conspicuously absent. It looks like WebCL's capability will remain limited to Firefox and Safari.

  • Amit Mookerjee discussed the AMD Media SDK, which makes it possible to access MPEGs in code. From the sound of it, developers can use the SDK to access MPEGs without worrying about MPEG licensing. I don't see how that's possible, but it's great if it's true.
I'd hoped to attend the presentation on HSA Bolt, a new library of primitive math routines for CPUs and GPUs. Unfortunately, it was scheduled at the same time as my own presentation, which went swimmingly.

Addendum: one reader who attended the HSA Bolt presentation described the library as follows:

"They have two versions: One C++ AMP version, and one OpenCL version, both with essentially the same API. It is essentially a heterogenous replacement for algorithms part of STL. For example it provides a bolt::sort for C++ AMP, or clbolt::sort for OpenCL, which takes regular CPU data strucutres as inputs, relying on HSA based system to avoid data transfer. Also, AMD said while it will work on any OpenCL or AMP compatible device, AMD is providing AMD-optimized ports. However, it will be open-source so theoretically someone can write optimized ports to other chips."

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