AMD to Ease Multicore Development

By Scott Ferguson  |  Posted 2007-08-14 Print this article Print

AMD's new program, "Hardware Extensions for Software Parallelism," aims to make it easier for developers to write applications for multicore processors.

Advanced Micro Devices is looking to make it easier for developers to take advantage of multicore processing when designing applications. The chip maker announced on Aug. 14 a new program entitled "Hardware Extensions for Software Parallelism," aimed at better integrating software and hardware to take advantage of software parallelism and improve application performance. The goal of the initiative, said Margaret Lewis, director of commercial solutions at AMD, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., is to help the software community optimize managed code and multiple core programming support on the hardware level. As the industry adopts multicore processors, a new approach must emerge to help exploit these benefits, she added.
The first of these initiatives for the instructional set is a specification called "Light-Weight Profiling," or LWP, which will provide real-time analysis of how best to improve application performance.
AMD officials said additions such as LWP will bring significant benefits in connection with a broad range of software, including run-time environments such as Sun Microsystems Java Virtual Machine and Microsofts .Net Framework. Click here to read more about AMDs server road map. LWP will allow application code to check what resources are available. This, Lewis said, will allow the application to make an adjustment and reallocate resources if, for example, the memory in one processor core is being overloaded, and then remove the bottleneck. In time, AMD could add additional extensions to the hardware set, Lewis said. While AMDs initiative could have ramifications for applications written for PCs, Lewis added that it will likely benefit server applications, such as Web applications. For now, developers interested in AMDs programs can go to the companys Web site and provide feedback about the initiative and suggest other ways to improve the chips instructional set. Lewis said the extensions will not be included in the companys upcoming "Barcelona" quad-core Opteron processors. Its unclear when AMD will include the extension in its product road map. "We are talking about a future generation of processors and we want to wait to have a full cycle of development before we decide what to put in a future set of the companys processors," Lewis said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.

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