Toads, Birds and Performant OpenCL

comportabilityHPC Wire recently published a contributed article from the Comportability group, a recently formed organisation of OpenCL users.  The article makes for a fascinating read and although focused on the High Performance Computing community, includes many observations that are just as relevant in the emerging Low-Energy / Mobile space.

A link to the full article is included at the end of this piece, but the following paragraph was particularly interesting and I’ll leave it to the reader to think on what is being said.

“Much of the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) directed at OpenCL has focused on the mantra that OpenCL may be portable but not portably performant.  This is an attempt to divert the discussion from the real issue.  Clearly, all hardware is not the same, and no single approach to expressing a parallel algorithm can be optimal across the wide variety of architectures that are currently available.  This is not the point of OpenCL.  The true power of OpenCL is that it provides the infrastructure that allows us to target different combinations of hardware within a single framework.  OpenCL frees us from the old scenario where developers must use an ad hoc combination of interfaces to support multiple architectures.  True, we may need to write a new version of our kernel to get the best performance on Architecture A, but isn’t this what we actually want?  With OpenCL, developers can easily switch between different kernel implementations, execution topologies and memory model interpretations.  This flexibility is at the core of the OpenCL philosophy.  So, to the OpenCL detractors: A toad may criticize the way that a bird flaps its wings, but only to distract us from the fact that the toad cannot fly.

Read the Full HPC Wire Article

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