Widely available CPU/GPU-based systems hold the promise of being able to accelerate many computationally intensive image analysis and computer vision applications.
Now, in an effort to make it easier for programmers to take advantage of such parallel processing hardware, Nvidia, Cray, the Portland Group (PGI), and CAPS enterprise have developed a new parallel-programming standard known as OpenACC.
OpenACC allows parallel programmers to provide simple hints, known as "directives," to a compiler, identifying which areas of code to accelerate, without requiring programmers to modify or adapt the underlying code itself. By exposing parallelism to the compiler, directives allow the compiler to do the detailed work of mapping the computation onto the accelerator.
Existing compilers from Cray, PGI and CAPS are expected to provide initial support for the OpenACC standard beginning in the first quarter of 2012. The OpenACC standard is fully compatible and interoperable with the Nvidia CUDA parallel programming architecture, which is designed to allow detailed control over the accelerator for maximum performance tuning.
Developers interested in trying directives-based programming can obtain a one-month free trial of the PGI Accelerator Fortran and C compilers at Nvidia’s new 2x in 4 weeks web site, or by contacting Cray.
More information about OpenACC, as well as the OpenACC specification, is available at www.OpenACC-standard.org.
-- By Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design