ARM And AMD Partner On OpenCL

There is the persistent rumor that AMD may be licensing ARM architecture to make its way into the smartphone tablet space, but there was no confirmation of such a move at the conference. Instead, ARM and AMD are partnering in the OpenCL space to promote the craetion of GPU-accelerated apps.

At its conference, AMD announced a set of new OpenCL development tools that cater specifically to its Fusion APUs. The most interesting part of this announcement is the fact it was made by Manju Hegde, AMD's corporate vice president of AMD's Fusion experience program. Some readers may remember Hegde as the founder and CEO of Ageia, the company that invented the PhysX chip. Ageia was acquired by Nvidia in early 2008 and Hegde is now at AMD pitching OpenCL support, which is in direct competition to Nvidia's CUDA.

ARM's Jem Davies delivered a keynote at AMD's Fusion event and while there are obvious competitive edges between ARM and x86 products, the executive stresses that ARM and x86 are the only remaining "relevant" CPU architectures. Davies also pitched a hybrid processor approach that outlined CPU cores, parallel arrays and circuits that are dedicated to very specific functions, which obviously would favor highly parallel software that is written in, for example, OpenCL. It is a somewhat surreal experience to see ARM speaking at AMD's (x86) developer event and AMD could have simply invited ARM to annoy Intel. To see the partnership evolve is interesting, but the benefit to developers at the event was very limited.

I still believe that there is much more to come and those AMD-ARM rumors have some substance.

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  • Rab1d-BDGR
    ARM and AMD would make quite a team. I hope OpenCL overtakes CUDA as the dominant GPGPU technology and that everyone will eventually adopt it as open industry standards are much better for competition.