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From Wired: Supercomputing Power Hits the Desktop, Minus the Software

Wired magazine’s Bryan Gardiner says: Just last week, Khronos, the industry consortium behind the OpenGL standard, announced what it calls Open Computing Language, or OpenCL. With this new heterogeneous computing initiative, the group hopes to come up with a standardized (and universal) way of programming parallel computing tasks. In many ways, it's the Holy Grail developers have been waiting for: a hardware-agnostic standard that unleashes the power of multi-core CPUs and GPUs using a familiar language. Apple is throwing its weight behind parallel processing too, and last week committed to using the OpenCL specification as part of its next operating system release, Snow Leopard. Other companies, including AMD, Nvidia, ARM, Freescale, IBM, Imagination, Nokia, Motorola, Qualcomm, Samsung and Texas Instruments have joined the OpenCL working group. If initiatives like OpenCL gain momentum, the days of researchers applying for grants and traveling across the country to use a given university or research facility's super computer may well be at an end. Similarly, distributed computing projects like Folding@Home and Seti@Home may see an huge boost in performance by using hundreds of thousand of computers equipped with these new powerful processors. Of course, if curing cancer or looking for aliens isn't your thing, we can also be fairly certain that Crysis will really scream on any system equipped with these new GPUs.

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