Intel buys parallelism companies

August 24, 2009 // 10:02 a.m.

Tags: #amd #aquisition #cilk #intel #multicore #multi-core #multi-threaded #parallelism #parallel-processing #rapidmind #smp

Intel is continuing its to expand its software expertise with the acquisition of two separate software companies in the last month.

According to CNet, the chip giant has signed papers for the outright acquisition of two companies within the last month: Cilk and Rapidmind. Both companies are an excellent fit for Intel, as they specialise in the development of efficient code for multi-core and multi-processor systems - something Intel, with its up-coming ranges of six core and higher processors, is keen on encouraging.

Intel's director of marketing and sales James Reinders used a 'phone interview with CNet to accuse what he calls "traditional applications, ones we use everyday" of "not exploiting parallelism [the presence of multiple logical processing cores] - at least not to the full extent." With the vast majority of processors offered by Intel and its rival AMD offering at least two logical - if not physical - processing cores, that's something the company would like to change.

Accordingly, Reinders sees his company's latest acquisitions as a way to encourage application developers to take advantage of the benefits of parallelism. Users of Intel's Parallel Studio could be the first to reap the benefits of the company's latest spending spree, with Reinders stating that Cilk's MIT-developed technology for allowing single-threaded applications to be upgraded to take advantage of multiple cores is likely to be added to the toolkit sooner rather than later.

Whilst both of the companies purchased were on the small side - with fewer than 50 employees each - they were regarded as being at the top of their game, and aren't likely to have come cheap. Intel, however, is keeping quiet on just how much money it has spent in a still-struggling technology market.

Do you believe that ubiquitous parallelism is the way forward, or are you struggling to see the advantage for your average browser or word processor being able to run on multiple cores simultaneously? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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