Report: Intel Takes Parallel Programming Mainstream

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-06-15 Print this article Print

Market research firm Evans Data reports that Intel has a potential big hit on its hands with its new parallel programming tool for developers, Intel Parallel Studio.

Market research firm Evans Data reports that Intel has a potential big hit on its hands with its new parallel programming tool for developers, Intel Parallel Studio.

In an Evans Data Market Alert, which the company has introduced as a new service that examines major events or offerings that impact the software development landscape, Janel Garvin, founder of Evans Data, said, "With Parallel Studio, Intel has moved far ahead of any other vendor in providing a full suite of superior tools for parallel programming for the mainstream market, and that positions them very nicely for the future."

Moreover, Garvin called Intel's move "highly strategic" on several fronts, not least because it leverages Microsoft's popular Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE). Indeed, Intel's releasing Parallel Studio brings parallel programming into the mainstream Windows environment by providing multithreading tools for developers using Visual Studio. Parallel Studio provides a C/C++ compiler with pre-threaded libraries that developers can use right out of the box, plus a performance analyzer, and a debugger with memory and thread error checker. It works with Visual Studio 2005 and 2008 so developers can start parallel programming for Windows today, Garvin said.

"Multicore processors are a current reality for most computer users, but multithreaded applications that take advantage of their capabilities are a rarity - mostly because of the complexity of writing them," Garvin said. "Intel has suddenly shifted the software development landscape with the release of tools that allow the large universe of Visual Studio users to exploit the performance and scaling opportunities inherent in multicore processors."

Regarding the potential opportunity Intel faces with it parallel programming toolkit, Garvin said:

"Current estimates of the global developer population stand at 14.6 million and that is expected to increase to 16.5 million by 2011 as reported in Evans Data Corp's Developer Population Study, 2009. Of those, 41.2 percent, or a little over six million developers worldwide are currently doing some form of multithreaded development and an additional 11 percent expect to within the next six months."

The first Evans Data Market Alert focuses on Parallel Studio and includes data from the most recent Evans Data Global Development Survey of more than 1,200 developers. 

In a survey report earlier this year, Evans Data found that more than 53 percent of developers used Visual Studio and that was nearly twice as many developers that use the next most popular environment, the Eclipse IDE.

Meanwhile, Garvin added:

"Microsoft has realized the tremendous changes that multicore development is going to make in the programming paradigm and has announced plans to provide multithreading tools of its own in Visual Studio 2010. However, Parallel Studio is here today and supports both Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008."

Yet, she said, "...with Intel so far ahead today, it is likely that they will maintain a clear lead even after Visual Studio 2010 ships. It's possible that Microsoft may never catch up. Intel has years of experience in both the hardware and software for parallel processing - something that Microsoft lacks -- and that is translating into tools -- the cornerstone for developer adoption."

In an interview about the announcement of Intel's Parallel Studio in May, James Reinders, director of Intel Software Development Products, said the studio is an on-ramp to parallelism for C/C++ developers using Microsoft Visual Studio.

Intel Parallel Studio has three primary components, Intel Parallel Composer, Intel Parallel Inspector and Intel Parallel Amplifier. On the same day the company announced its Parallel Studio -- May 26 -- Intel also announced its Intel Parallel Advisor Lite offering. Intel Parallel Advisor Lite is a plug-in for Intel Parallel Studio that enables Windows developers to determine where parallelism is most beneficial to existing source code.

The Evans Data Market Alert series will be published quarterly and will focus on products or events that make a significant difference in software development.  The first Market Alert publication is available for free download at: 

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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