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NVIDIA Releases Source To CUDA Compiler 89

An anonymous reader writes "NVIDIA has announced they have 'open-sourced' their new CUDA compiler so that their GPGPU platform can be brought to new architectures. NVIDIA's CUDA compiler is based upon LLVM. At the moment though they seem to be restricting the source code's access to 'qualified' individuals.' The official press release implies wider access to the source will happen later. It so happens that a few days ago AMD opened their OpenCL backend and added initial support to the Free Software r600 driver.
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NVIDIA Releases Source To CUDA Compiler

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  • No they haven't (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PatDev ( 1344467 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @12:17PM (#38370850)

    Title is correct. From TFA, the summary appears wrong. It seems they are not open sourcing anything. To quote TFA

    On December 13th, NVIDIA announced that it will open up the CUDA platform by releasing source code for the CUDA Compiler.

    They will let you look at the code, and they might let you send patches back to them. Nowhere I can find did NVIDIA promise anything along the lines of an open license, or even any license at all. This is more like a Microsoft shared-source deal, where you can look, but no rights or privileges are transferred to you.

    That said, it would still be cool to see.

  • by melonakos ( 948203 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @12:46PM (#38371220)
    IMO, open sourcing their GPU libraries would be a much bigger deal than only open sourcing the compiler. I would like to see CUBLAS, CUFFT, CUSPARSE, CURAND, etc all get opened up to the community.

    The pain is not in compiling GPU code; rather, the pain is in writing good GPU code. The major difference between NVIDIA and AMD (and the major edge NVIDIA has over AMD) is not as much the compiler as it is the libraries.

    Of course, I'm biased, because I work at AccelerEyes and we do GPU consulting with our freely available, but not open source, ArrayFire GPU library [accelereyes.com], which has both CUDA and OpenCL versions.
  • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fsckmnky ( 2505008 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @12:52PM (#38371324)
    imho ... OpenCL is a much better path, because it can execute code on a CPU as well as a GPU. It can even target FPGAs for executing the parallel operations on reconfigurable hardware, as well as sharing output paths with OpenGL for visualization.

    The Nvidia driver ( at least for linux ) currently seems to only support Nvidia GPUs as a target, but the AMD driver supports AMD GPUs as well as the host systems CPU. Again, on linux at least, you can install both AMD and Nvidias drivers if you want to utilize your CPU ( via AMD driver ) and Nvidia GPU ( via Nvidia driver ) at the same time, although there are some minor framework related hoops to jump through to get parallel execution across multiple device platforms concurrently.

    These features seem to indicate native CUDA is pretty much a dead platform ( looking forward ).
  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @01:02PM (#38371510)

    OK, then how do you explain the rather large numbers of companies that give back to BSD projects? This anti-BSD FUD that the Linux and GPL camp seem to need to spread got old many,many years ago.

    Without a permissive license the internet would have been greatly delayed as MS and the others would have had to develop their own TCP/IP stack from scratch.

  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <gameboyrmh@NoSpam.gmail.com> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @01:18PM (#38371796) Journal

    D'oh, NM, I RTFA'd:

    Nvidia's CUDA compiler will be able to create code that supports more programming languages and will run on AMD and Intel processors, while previously it ran only on Nvidia's GPUs. The company made the announcement today at the GPU Technology Conference in Beijing.

    Continuing to call it a CUDA compiler is a bit misleading then isn't it?

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @01:22PM (#38371874) Homepage Journal

    OpenCL is a much better path, because it can execute code on a CPU as well as a GPU.

    So can CUDA, according to a graphic in one of the featured articles [nvidia.com]: "NVIDIA C or C++, PGI Fortran, or new language support, through LLVM-based CUDA compiler, to NVIDIA GPUs, x86 CPUs, and new processor support."

  • by fsckmnky ( 2505008 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @01:29PM (#38371994)
    And as I said, the OpenCL driver I downloaded from Nvidia a week ago, doesn't support CPU's as a target. This is not to say CUDA isn't capable of doing this at some point or with some 3rd party addition, just that the capability currently doesn't exist, or at the very least, isn't being provided by Nvidia.

    Given the choice of a vendor-neutral platform, or a vendor-supplied platform ( where the odds of CUDA having support for AMD GPU's is near 0 ) ... as a developer, which would you choose ?

    Hence my prediction, OpenCL will win ( the hearts and minds contest ). It's already won mine. I wouldn't touch CUDA for fear of being locked into Nvidia products versus the open, broad support, of OpenCL. I even ordered an AMD video card, so I can ditch the Nvidia only driver entirely.
  • Re:GPU drivers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @02:11PM (#38372664) Journal

    Yes, please help proprietary hardware vendors by making sure nobody will support you, that's the ticket!

    I mean what do you think other hardware vendors are gonna do? they are gonna look at what happened with AMD. AMD releases all the specs they can (there are some bits that are part of HDCP they don't have the right to release) and even go so far as to hire developers out of their own pocket to support the free drivers, and what does the community do? What do you see on every forum, including here? "LOL use nvidia".

    Any company with a brain after seeing that would tell you and the rest of your little ungrateful "community" to fuck right off. So thanks, you are helping to ensure that FOSS stays the choice of hobbyist nerds and never gains any share, making sure guys like me have plenty of work, appreciate it pal.

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