Intel upgrades parallel development suite

Parallel Studio 2011 backs Visual Studio 2010 and adds a component to walk developers through the process of introducing parallelism

Intel will release on Thursday an upgrade to its parallel development toolset for Windows application developers, adding both a tool to walk developers through parallelism, as well as support for Microsoft's Visual Studio 2010 IDE.

Intel Parallel Studio 2011 is an update to Intel Parallel Studio. It aids developers in building parallel C++ or C applications for multicore or multiprocessing systems. "It's a suite of four products that work on the developer lifecycle, including designing, building, verifying and tuning," said Bill Savage, vice president and general manager of the Developer Products Division in Intel's Software and Services Group.

[ Intel promoted parallel application development at an event in 2009. | Keep up with app dev issues and trends with InfoWorld's Fatal Exception blog and Developer World newsletter. ]

Developers in recent years have had to start building applications particularly for multicore chips, which boost performance by carrying several cores on the same chip. Building for multicore systems requires additional responsibilities than what has been the norm with single-core chips. Developers must move from a serial version of an application to a parallel version of an application, Savage said. Intel's suite assists with this type of application conversion without requiring a rewrite.

A new addition to the suite is Parallel Advisor. "What Parallel Advisor does is it walks a C++ [or C] developer through the process of introducing parallelism into their application. You don't need to have a background or education in parallel development," Savage said.

Other tools in the suite include new versions of Parallel Composer, featuring Intel compilers and libraries and bugging and debugging capabilities; Parallel Inspector for code verification; and Parallel Amplifier to gauge performance.

Parallel Composer adds a technology called Parallel Building Blocks, offering capabilities for data parallelism via Intel's RapidMind acquisition. "That technology comes forward as our Array Building Blocks component of Parallel Building Blocks," said Savage. Array Building is cited by Intel as being in a beta stage of development.

Data parallelism involves large amounts of data needing the same operations repeated. Parallel Building Blocks also features a capability called Cilk Plus, for task and data parallelism using language extensions. Cilk Plus descended from Intel's acquisition of Cilk Arts.

Parallel Amplifier includes serial and parallel profilers, providing information on hotspot and threading performance as well as concurrency and locks details.

Future possibilities for Intel's parallel development tools include capabilities for .Net-based and perhaps Java development.

The entire suite can be purchased for $799. Individual products can be purchased separately for $399.

In addition to working with Visual Studio 2010, the suite can be used with the 2005 and 2008 editions of Visual Studio.

This article, "Intel upgrades parallel development suite," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter.

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