VectorFabrics: 2014 will be parallel

There is a F and V.

Toolmaker VectorFabrics sent 9 predictions for this year in their newsletter. I’d like to share it with you.

Nine predictions for 2014 that prove the programming landscape is changing

It is not hard to predict that this year will see a lot of activity around multicores and manycores. 2014 will be the year that software has to catch up with highly concurrent hardware. So we expect to see some major changes in how people view multicore programming:

  1. Neither Intel, AMD nor Qualcomm releases any new single core processors in 2014. Therefore, it is less and less acceptable to release pure sequentially operating applications.
  2. Intel releases a 15-core Xeon. On a typical 4-socket motherboard your OS sees 120 available cores. OpenMP is the preferred programming paradigm on such a platform for data-intensive shared-memory calculations. You have to deal with performance bottlenecks, including Amdahl’s law, cache performances and memory bandwidth issues.
  3. Next to ARM big.LITTLE systems, 2014 sees the first true octacore cell phones and tablets. At that point, it becomes painfully clear that applications need changes to benefit from so many cores. Both true octacore and big.LITTLE processors see very little adoption in mobile devices as long as software that can benefit is missing.
  4. At least one major mobile phone vendor loses market share because their hardware may be good, but the software (especially the web browser) cannot utilize the hardware to the max.
  5. Both the XBox One and PlayStation 4 feature AMD Jaguar octacore processors with GP-GPUs. Very few games will using all the compute power, and customers will wonder why to upgrade as the performance difference to their existing console is not so different.
  6. Two great open standards, OpenACC and OpenMP see a nice boost in adoption thanks to upcoming support in the latest open source compilers. Clang 3.5  features OpenMP 4.0 support. In addition GCC 4.9 also receives OpenACC support.
  7. In the mobile space, offloading to GP-GPUs is hot as new architectures from Qualcomm Adreno 420, Nvidia Tegra K1 and Imagination PowerVR Series 6 will each allow offloading. Managing and programming the offloading will remain a problem: OpenCL? OpenACC? CUDA? RenderScript?
  8. Major desktop applications jump on the compute-offloading bandwagon to win performance, using either OpenCL or OpenACC
  9. Programmability of the next-gen Intel Xeon Phi (Knights Landing) will raise some eyebrows. This 2015 chip will have 72 Atom Silvermont cores with local memory, cache and up to 384 GB shared memory. This is outside the comfort zone of most programmers.

You guessed right: their tool has to do with parallel programming.

What are your predictions for 2014?