Codeplay’s Offload™ programming tool suite is now available for all programmers developing software for Cell Broadband Engine™ powered devices running under Linux.
Offload™ was first released in October for SCE licensed PlayStation®3 Games developers, and has also recently been made available on the PlayStation®3 Developer Network.
The Offload™ tool suite provides the Offload™ tool as well as a full Windows based GCC SDK, enabling the easy offloading code to the SPUs on the Cell Broadband Engine™. It also includes integration with a Cell Broadband Engine™ enhanced Eclipse CDT, and the Offload™ Player Debugger, for executing and debugging code on the target Cell Broadband Engine™ hardware. Offload™: Community Edition is free to use for academic research and commercial projects, subject to licensing conditions.
Offload™ provides a smooth migration path to heterogeneous multi-core processors. Unlike many other multi-core tools, Offload™ does not focus on parallelizing software. Instead, Offload™ focuses on providing a very easy migration path from CPU to SPU. Parallelism can instead be expressed using standard parallel programming techniques such as C++ parallel template libraries. Heterogeneous multi-core overcomes the problem of memory bandwidth saturation (that occurs with Symmetric Multi-Threading multi-core processors) by requiring software developers to handle memory accesses themselves, by using separate local and shared memories, or streaming DMA. Offload™ lets programmers take full advantage of the memory-bandwidth features of heterogeneous multi-core, but only requiring minimal and incremental changes to source code.
Codeplay are also using this version of Offload™ as a technology demonstrator for the Offload programming model for heterogeneous multi-core processors. Codeplay are looking to attract future customers with new heterogeneous multi-core architectures who need a proven multi-core programming model to add value to their chip.
“Codeplay’s efforts with Offload™ on PlayStation®3 have proven that Offload provides an easy multi-core programming solution that actually works with real-world software.” said Codeplay founder and CEO Andrew Richards.
“The Cell Broadband Engine™ version will allow everyone to see the benefits of the Offload model. It will be quite exciting to port it to other multi-core devices in the future and see what other applications it helps developers save time and money with.”
Offload for Cell Broadband Engine™ can be downloaded here from the Offload™ website.
Codeplay Part of European Multi-Core Research Project
Offload™ is already being used as part of the European FP7 research project PEPPHER (for "Performance Portability and Programmability of Heterogeneous many-core aRchitectures”). The research is being undertaken by a consortium of European research groups, including both academic and commercial partners.
Codeplay is one of the research partners, alongside the University of Vienna, Chalmers Tekniska Högskola, Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique, Intel, Linköping University, Movidius, and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.
The aim of PEPPHER is to devise a methodology and framework for developing applications that will run efficiently on multi-cores processors consisting of different types of parallel subsystems and can be ported across different types of both homogeneous and hybrid multi-cores systems under preservation of crucial performance aspects.
"Using C++ template metaprogramming with Offload enables researchers and developers to write template libraries that give generic solutions to the problems of heterogeneous multicore parallelism and streaming memory access." said Project Coordinator Dr. Sabri Pllana from the University of Vienna.
The€3.4m project started on January 1st and will last until 2012.
For further information of PEPPHER visit www.peppher.eu.
Codeplay is software compiler technology company based in Edinburgh, UK. Codeplay aims to be the supplier of choice for developers of parallel processing, reconfigurable and network processing devices who need custom-built compilers which are optimised for their devices.
Codeplay was formed in March 2002 and its first product was launched in July 2002. In December 2000 Codeplay received‘seedcorn’ funding from Jez San, the founder of Argonaut Games and ARC International. Jez is considered a 'founding father' of the computer games industry, having written one of the very first 3D games. Jez remains a significant shareholder in Codeplay.
Codeplay have a global client base, servicing customers in the USA, Japan and EU.
Further information on Codeplay is available at www.codeplay.com.
Scott McKenzie, Technical Marketing
Codeplay Software Limited
Telephone: 0131 466 0503
Address: 45 York Place, Edinburgh EH1 3HP