At Intel they have CPUs (Xeon, Ivy Bridge), GPUs (Isis) and Accelerators (Xeon Phi). OpenCL enables each processor to be used to the fullest and they now promote it as such. Watch the below video and see their view on why OpenCL makes a difference for Intel’s customers.
This is important, because till recently Intel was more pushing OpenMP and their proprietary solutions. I think it has something to do with the specialised processors that can be programmed with OpenCL, such as DSPs and FPGAs. Intel has always made generic processors that solve problems best for most. Customers of OpenCL happen to be the ones that could not be served with generic processors and preferred FPGAs and DSPs, before they tried GPUs. By showing that Intel can do OpenCL, they show they are a trustworthy partner to handle the problems in a few years, when the current problems can be handled by Intel processors.
Of course the Xeon Phi is also a good reason. The latest drivers have shown a huge improvement in performance, and that has increased Intel’s confidence in OpenCL for sure.
At StreamHPC we are very happy that Intel now openly promotes OpenCL and invests in it – this will increase trust in the programming language.
A small side-note. The differences between the Windows-drivers and Linux-drivers are somewhat vague: under Linux, the CPU is visible, but not supported officially. This makes development of multi-processor software not as straightforward as discussed in the video. Probably this will be more extensive in the future, as Intel only officially supports OpenCL on a processor when it’s very stable.