Kanter's Introduction to OpenCL

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David Kanter has written an excellent primer on OpenCL in the Real World Technologies blog:

The goals for OpenCL are deceptively simple: a cross-platform API and ecosystem for applications to take advantage of heterogeneous computing resources for parallel applications. The name also makes it clear – that OpenCL is the compute analogue of OpenGL and is intended to fill a similar role. While GPUs were explicitly targeted, a number of other devices have considerable potential, but lack a suitable programming model, including IBM’s Cell processor and various FPGAs. Multi-core CPUs are also candidates for OpenCL, especially given the difficultly inherent in parallel programming models, with the added benefit of integration with other devices.

Kanter goes on to say that despite its flaws, OpenCL holds great promise as an open, compatible and standards based approach to parallel computing on GPUs and other alternative devices. While OpenCL is in it’s early stages, Kanter believes OpenCL and DirectCompute will eventually come to dominate the landscape, just as OpenGL and DirectX became the standards for graphics.