Intel Ships Parallel Programming Tool Set

Intel begins shipping its Intel Parallel Studio, a tool set designed to help Windows developers write parallel computing applications.

Intel has begun shipping its Intel Parallel Studio, a tool set designed to help Windows developers write parallel computing applications.

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, which together enable Windows developers to "create, debug and optimize applications for multicore processors," Reinders said.

As part of the May 26 announcement, Reinders said Intel is also making Intel Parallel Advisor Lite available. 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." Intel is offering Intel Parallel Advisor Lite to developers at no additional charge from Developers can get the Intel Parallel Studio from Pricing for the studio is $799 for commercial customers and $199 for academic customers; each component sold separately is $399.

Intel Parallel Studio helps developers design, code and debug, verify and tune parallel applications. The tool set enables developers to gain insight on where parallelism will most benefit existing source code, and also aids development of effective applications with a C/C++ compiler and comprehensive threaded libraries, the company said. And it helps to ensure application reliability with proactive parallel memory and threading error checking, Reinders said.

During beta testing the Intel Parallel Studio garnered high marks from developers, according to Intel. Indeed, 75 percent of the beta testers said they saw useful results within 15 minutes, and 75 percent also said they would recommend Parallel Studio to a colleague. In addition, 86 percent of the beta testers said they thought that the threading implementation methods supported by Parallel Studio were sufficient for their needs, 71 percent said they saw a speedup with the Parallel Studio compiler compared with the compiler they were using previously, and 90 percent said they felt the product was production-quality. Before becoming generally available on May 26, Intel Parallel Studio had been available as a beta since 2008.

"Parallel Studio extends Visual Studio with support for parallelism," Reinders said. "And Parallel Advisor Lite helps you decide the best places for adding parallelism. ... No one else in the industry is addressing this with tools. So I expect to see quite a few groups and companies getting comfortable with shipping parallel applications."

Moreover, Reinders said he believes that "for C and C++ developers we've nailed it" and made access to parallelism broadly available. "We've seen real validation in the beta program," he added, and said the lessons learned in enabling parallel application development in its C/C++ tool set "can be carried over to other languages as well, such as Java."

"Intel Parallel Studio makes the new Envivio 4Caster Series Transcoder's development faster and more efficient," said Eric Rosier, vice president of engineering at Envivio. "The tools included in Parallel Studio, such as Intel Parallel Inspector, Intel Parallel Amplifier and Intel Parallel Composer (which consists of the Intel C++ Compiler, Intel IPP and Intel TBB) [shorten] our overall software development time by increasing the code's reliability and its performance in a multicore, multithreaded environment ... Parallel Studio globally speeds up our software products' time to market."

Dat Chu, a research assistant in the Computational Biomedicine Lab at the University of Houston, said: "I have an image-processing GUI app that I developed for a project and it was running quite slow. So I decided to give Parallel Amplifier a run. I was delighted when it pointed me to the source line that was taking much of the time. I made the change and, voila, our app is now almost 10 times faster. The GUI is very easy to use in my opinion."