This set of plug-ins to Microsoft's Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE) promises to help ease developers into the now-standard world of multi-threaded applications running on multi-core processors.
The Studio is designed to support "forward scaling" - meaning that code built with it will be optimized not only for current multi-threaded, multi-core processors, but also for future ones as well. Intel isn't saying exactly what the range of that future might be, but they did say that its half-GPU, half-CPU Larrabee processor, which is still in Intel's labs, will be supported.
Mac OS X and Linux users, however, are left out of this beta, which is only for Windows developers - although Intel does note that "Developers for Linux and Mac OS will find that our current products for Linux and Mac OS are worth looking at today." No surprise there.
The code developed by Intel Parallel Studio will run on any x86 processor, though - as you might have guessed - some performance-tuning analysis tools in the Studio are Intel-only.
Designed for developers who write in C/C++ in Visual Studio 2005 and 2008, Intel Parallel Studio consists of three parts:
Intel Parallel Composer is a compiler and libraries package that provides a "broad array of parallel programming models" to assist in parallel-software development.
Intel Parallel Inspector is a proactive memory and threading error checker that's designed to track down threading errors and problems such as data races and deadlocks.
Intel Parallel Amplifier is a multi-threading performance tuner that detects scaling limitations such as unexpected serialization.
The Intel Parallel Studio FAQ can be downloaded here (PDF).
The 530MB download is free - just enter your email address and you'll be provided with the necessary serial number.
The beta will expire on June 30, 2009. ®