From Markus Levy

February 2014

The Multicore Association®



  • Making Progress on Software/Hardware Interface for Multi-Manycore
  • Multicore Debug Tools
  • Birds of Feather (aka BoF) to Focus on Heterogeneous Computing Platforms
  • Evolution of the Multicore Programming Practices Guide
  • Survey Results Highlight Multicore Usage
  • Upcoming Event

Making Progress on Software/Hardware Interface for Multi- and Manycore

SHIM, the Software-Hardware Interface for Multi-Manycore, is progressing, quite rapidly - we have now defined all the elements in the SHIM XML schema. We have also engaged in developing the SHIM XML authoring tools and have a working prototype of the SHIM XML Editor, which generates a basic SHIM XML in minutes using its simple-to-use wizard. We are also working on yet another tool to complement the editor. All the details will be announced at the Multicore Developer Conference in May, but there is another chance for a sneak preview at the Embedded World 2014 this month (more details below).

Debug Tools for Multicore

The Multicore Association’s Tool Infrastructure Working Group (TIWG) has been working on the "Multi-Core Services Framework", or MCSF for the last year.  MCSF is a protocol and software framework that allows tools to connect to services in the context of an arbitrarily complex hierarchical multicore system.  In 2013 the TIWG focused on the semantics of how the framework should work to support many different use cases: legacy services, new multicore debug services, integration with other standards, etc.  Now that we have that ground work under our belts, in 2014 we are beginning work on a prototype open source implementation of MCSF.

MCA BoF - Heterogeneous Computing Platforms: Merging HPC and Embedded

This BoF, taking place on Tuesday, May 7th at the Multicore DevCon (and served with drinks and dessert), brings together the multicore and manycore user/developer community to discuss the impact and experiences that multicore and manycore software has given (and will continue to give) to the fast emergence of the hardware chips containing homogeneous and heterogeneous cores (and operating systems). The focus is on programming models and the use of software standards as applied to multicore applications and the needs of the community to be considered for future standards releases. The motivation behind this is to facilitate the merging of embedded and HPC applications. (NOTE: Complimentary registration for qualified attendees)

Evolution of the Multicore Programming Practices Guide

With already more than 4600 downloads, the Multicore Programming Practices Guide has proven to be a worthwhile endeavor. However, since this project was begun more than 5 years ago, it’s time to consider revisions and additions. There are many things that can be added and embellished upon. Contact me if you are interested in contributing to the next revision of this popular guide that will help many people in the industry.

Survey Results Highlight Multicore Usage

The Multicore Association members always want to make sure that we are providing you with the tools that will better support your multicore system and software development. Back in 2013, we sent a survey to our newsletter subscribers – here are the results. NOTE: On most of the questions, multiple selections are possible.

Which of the following are you using (or considering)?
a. MCAPI (34%)
b. MTAPI (19%)
c. MRAPI (13%)
d. OpenCL (41%)
e. OpenGL (34%)
f. OpenMP (51%)

What type of multicore devices and/or systems do you use or plan to use?
a. Homogeneous cores (SMP mode) on a single or multiple chips? (66%)
b. Homogeneous cores (SMP mode) on multiple chips (0%)
c. Heterogeneous cores (0%)
d. Combination of homogeneous and heterogeneous cores? (56%)

What are your biggest challenges of using multicore devices?
a. Optimizing and/or parallelizing my existing legacy code? (50%)
b. Creating and optimizing new multicore code (63%)
c. Application portability and/or non‐scalable code (38%)
d. Application scalability (35%)
e. Not enough low‐level driver support from semiconductor vendors (22%)

What development tool features would you like to see (that don’t exist today)?
a. Portable memory management (42%)
b. Hardware acceleration assist (35%)
c. Performance analysis (60%)
d. Bottleneck detection tools (67%)
7) What kind of hardware accelerator are you using (or would like to use)?
a. Data sharing (i.e. DMA, queue manager) (50%)
b. Algorithm accelerators (e.g. encoder/decoder, packet processing) (63%)

What kind of operation systems are you using in your system?
a. Embedded Linux (50%)
b. Proprietary (39%)
c. RTOS (43%)
d. Bare Metal (27%)

Upcoming Events

At Embedded World in Nuremberg, Germany, Masaki Gondo (chair of the SHIM working group and Software CTO at eSOL) and Markus Levy will present "Establishing a portable interface between hardware and software in multicore systems" on Thursday, February 27th from 11:00 - 11:30.

Also at Embedded World, Colin Walls (Mentor Graphics) will present "Interprocessor Communications and MCAPI"" on Thursday, February 27th from 11:30 - 12:00.

On Friday, April 11th, Rob Oshana (Director, Software Research and Development: Freescale Semiconductor) and Markus Levy will present "Multicore Programming Practices Version 2.0: A Practical Guide to Software Development for Multicore Processors" at the Freescale Technology Forum.

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