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OpenCL for Snow Leopard nearly complete in 6 mos.

updated 07:45 pm EST, Wed November 19, 2008

OpenCL built in 6 months

Khronos Group and its alliance of associated companies have managed to build the OpenCL programming standard in just six months, according to Macworld. OpenCL (Open Computing Language) is a standard for parallel programming, which could serve as the foundation for a variety of devices and applications, without the limitations of platform-dependent or closed architecture.

"If you go to some other larger standards bodies, it's quite normal for a standard to take five years or more," said Neil Trevett, CEO of Khronos. The team pushed the limit in order to meet Apple's time-frame for consideration in the next release of OS X, Snow Leopard.

"The fact that if we could hit this impossible deadline [Apple] would support it in Snow Leopard was a huge plus to us," said Tim Mattson of Intel.

Although the bulk share of technical work has been completed, time will still be given for other companies and lawyers to investigate any intellectual property issues. The collaboration was announced in June, bringing together industry leaders including 3DLabs, AMD, NVIDIA, Intel, ARM, Freescale, and Qualcomm.

OpenCL framework takes advantage of mult-cored CPUs and GPUs, aiming to drive the parallel computing market. The standard is royalty-free and open, with a wide range of potential applications, from mobile phones to DSPs. To keep a certain amount of integrity, implementations will be tested before the trademark can be used.

The standard would allow many process-intensive tasks to run faster with the CPU, or off-load part of the work to another processor. Developers could use OpenCL to enhance games, video or image editing software, and even basic computer functions. The team chose to use a C-based language that many programmers are familiar with.

Khronos has not provided an exact date for the official public release. Apple has already announced the inclusion of OpenCL in Snow Leopard, but the necessary ratification process has just begun. Meanwhile, Microsoft continues to work on its rival standard, DirectX 11.

by MacNN Staff



  1. eddd

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Microsoft vs everybody else. Again. But this time with much less leverage outside of gaming. Can't wait for this to be implemented in software... Imagine a 2x speed increase in Photoshop and other apps just by updating your OS (assuming you have the cores). Can't wait.

  1. TomSawyer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If OpenCl is

    "royalty-free and open" why must Apple, or any manufacturer for that matter, have to engage lawyers and their ilk to investigate potential intellectual property issues. These superfluous investigations just slow development/deployment and increase the cost of end-products. Just another sad statement on our increasingly litigious environment.

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    DirectX 11 will win...

    because Windows controls most of the desktop computer market. Businesses will go with whatever Windows backs. Apple doesn't stand much of a chance of making this platform a major standard. Most of the game companies will go with Microsoft because they'd be scared to lose Microsoft's backing. I can't imagine Apple pushing the 800 lb. Microsoft gorilla aside. I'm very anxious to see this OpenCL in action if the reality is equal to the claims.

  1. ophiochos

    Joined: Dec 1969


    doom and gloom odo?

    so it'll be like USB all over again where Apple are foolish to commit to sotmething in relative isolation? uh ... and do you still use floppies? I think MS stuck with those when the iMac came out.

    Businesses are definitely going with Microsoft. XP Microsoft. h***, my university still runs 2000 on the central system. They just don't care, unless they use CPU intensive stuff and then they will consider the real options and may well be using Macs already. If performance is worth it, people will notice.

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