The tool marks one small step on a long journey to the many-core future, said Intel chief technology officer Justin Rattner in an interview with EE Times. In a Thursday keynote at the Intel Developer Forum here, Rattner demoed the new language and other research efforts aimed at easing parallel programming and reducing power consumption for PCs and servers.
Intel, Microsoft, Nvidia and others have poured millions into university research to define the tools tomorrow's programmers will need for the many-core processors now on their drawing boards. To date, parallel programming has been confined to use by experts in highly specialized technical applications.
"Were making good progress, but there won't be one [programming] model—there will be multiple models," Rattner said in the interview.
Parallel JS represents one of those models. The language boosts performance for data-intensive, browser-based apps such as photo and video editing and 3-D gaming running on Intel chips. It is meant to appeal to mainstream Web programmers who use scripting languages.
Rattner demoed the language's capability to harness up to eight x86 cores on an Intel CPU for a high-end animation.
"Most software written these days is in a scripting language like Java or Python, but to date those programmers have not had access to multicore tools," Rattner said. Parallel JS is "a pretty important step that gets us beyond the prevailing view that once you are beyond a few cores, multicore chips are only for technical apps," he said.
A future version of the language also will harness the graphics cores now embedded on Intel's latest processors. To that end, Rattner demoed a face recognition app that used both x86 and graphics cores.
"We are basically telling developers that it's time to think creatively about heterogeneous computing," Rattner said.