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CUDA and the Dodo Bird

nvidiaTG-Daily has an interesting article on how much life the NVIDIA CUDA software platform might or might not have left.  Considering NVIDIA’s recent release of their OpenCL 1.0 compliant drivers, they now have two methods by which to perform general purpose computing tasks on their GPUs.  So what gives!?  Will they toss CUDA out into the cold!?

Not likely, at least not in the near future.  According to the article, one of the main drivers behind NVIDIA cutting their OpenCL driver release so quickly, was simply to beat the competition.  AMD/ATi is rumored to be working on their implementation and Apple will support OpenCL in their Snow-Leopard release of OSX.  All that being said, the author did speak with an NVIDIA spokesperson.

As a small addition to the article, I did have a chance to briefly chat with Nvidia spokesman Andrew Humber about the state of CUDA and the general notion about a declining importance of CUDA in fact is true. While CUDA is not going anywhere and while the platform will remain important to vertical industries, especially in the high performance computing space and if those customers have invested substantial time into their own proprietary CUDA application, Open CL is likely to do well in the consumer space. Nvidia currently considers CUDA as a mature software environment to take advantage of GPUs, while Open CL has clearly a few years to go. To answer the question whether it is time to ditch CUDA, the answer I got was, “as long as we continue to see demand from the industry, we will continue to develop the platform and support it.”

This is all fine and well in the “spokesperson universe.”  What he failed to mention is that the high performance computing industry tends to lead the early adoption of new computing platforms.  Granted, I haven’t seen a rush on NVIDIA’s blue-light-special OpenCL driver from my application developer colleagues.  Pay close attention to this one folks.  NVIDIA is playing, what might play out to be, a dangerous game of two-round Russian roulette.

For more info, read the original artcicle here.

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