Amidst all the major hardware announcements at MWC2012 there are also some announcements coming out of the software side. The Portland Group (PGI) sent word this afternoon that their OpenCL compiler for ST-Ericsson’s ARM-based NovaThor SoCs is finished and will be available late next month. ARM has thrown their support behind OpenCL as of last year, but PGI’s compiler would be among the first commercial OpenCL compilers for ARM, and something we’d expect the rest of the field to follow sooner than later.

The PGI OpenCL Compiler For ARM will initially target ST-Ericsson’s NovaThor U8500 SoC, which is based on a dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU and coupled with an ARM Mali 400 MP GPU. As the name hints at, this is an OpenCL compiler and runtime for ARM, with all local OpenCL execution taking place on the U8500’s ARM A9 cores. Ultimately PGI will support additional NovaThor SoCs with this compiler, such as the recently announced L8540.

For the time being OpenCL execution will be limited to the ARM cores. We’d eventually expect support in some manner to broaden to GPU cores, but not until sometime in 2013 when ST-Ericsson’s PowerVR Series 6 based A9600 SoC ships.

Finally, on the operating system side of things PGI will be basing their support around Android, which makes sense as so far NovaThor SoCs have only appeared in Android devices. Notably they list the target OS as Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread), which will be the OS shipping on the first U8500 devices such as the Sony Xperias U and P. ICS isn’t expected for those phones until next quarter, though it’s not immediately clear when PGI’s compiler will reach parity.

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  • greylica - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    Unless they are planning an invasion in the PC market, doesn't make sense to use OpenCL in a Smartphone or Tablet. Mixtures of Computing languages are normally used to tasks like video coding, render and HPC. And more, if they have those plans (invasion in the PC Market), they will have to free those compilers in order to achieve a great user base for the ARM cores in conjunction with GPUs using OpenCL.
  • risa2000 - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    The logo at the top is logo of the mother company STMicroelectronics. ST-E has different type of logo (because they are technically, separate company). Just to note.

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