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Intel says CUDA will be nothing but a footnote in computer history

Intel and NVIDIA compete in many different ways. The most notable place we see competition between the two companies is in chipset manufacturing. Intel and NVIDIA also compete in the integrated graphics market where Intel’s integrated graphics chips lead the market.

NVIDIA started competing with Intel in the data processing arena with the CUDA programming language. Intel’s Pat Gelsinger, co-general manager of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group, told Custom PC that NVIDIA’s CUDA programming model would be nothing more than an interesting footnote in the annals of computing history.

According to Gelsinger, programmers simply don’t have enough time to learn how to program for new architectures like CUDA. Gelsinger told Custom PC, “The problem that we’ve seen over and over and over again in the computing industry is that there’s a cool new idea, and it promises a 10x or 20x performance improvements, but you’ve just got to go through this little orifice called a new programming model. Those orifices have always been insurmountable as long as the general purpose computing models evolve into the future.”

The Sony Cell architecture illustrates the point according to Gelsinger. The Cell architecture promised huge performance gains compared to normal architectures, but the architecture still isn’t supported widely by developers.

Intel’s Larrabee graphics chip will be entirely based on Intel Architecture x86 cores says Gelsinger. The reason for this is so that developers can program for the graphics processor without having to learn a new language. Larrabee will have full support for APIs like DX and OpenGL.

NVIDIA’s CUDA architecture is what makes it possible to process complex physics calculations on the GPU, enabling PhysX on the GPU rather than CPU.

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By EclipsedAurora on 7/2/2008 10:14:41 PM , Rating: 4
Actually Intel also push out a lot of technology that require programmers to completely re-learn all of their previous program model in order to gain the performance potential. MMX/SSE is an excellent example.

For Cell, actually Sony just follows her success in PS2. While PS2 CPU, the emotional engine, has different vector engine that require difference compiler, it promised breakthough performance if it is programmed well. Of course, programmers in that time complained about the complexity of programming. But as long as PS2 gain the market share, it force developers to learn!

Learning is always the path to success. Today even x86 programmers have to learn to parallel threading programming in order to squeeze the performance on dual-core/multiple core x86 CPUs!

To stuck with x86 is one of the many technically wrong route of Intel. With years of expansion from the original 8086 microprocessor, the x86 instruction set is just a clutter. That's one of the reason why Intel processor can never match up with IBM POWER in server/super computer market.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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