In a Q&A session after announcing Intel’s 40th birthday, we asked Intel’s senior vice president and co-general manager of Intel Corporation's Digital Enterprise Group, Pat Gelsinger, where he saw GPGPU languages such as CUDA in the future. He said that they would be nothing more than ‘interesting footnotes in the history of computing annals.’ ‘The problem that we’ve seen over and over and over again in the computing industry is that there’s a cool new idea, and it promises a 10x or 20x performance improvements, but you’ve just got to go through this little orifice called a new programming model,’ Gelsinger explained to Custom PC. Those orifices, says Gelsinger, have always been ‘insurmountable as long as the general purpose computing models evolve into the future.’
Gelsinger used the Cell architecture used in the PlayStation 3’s CPU as an example to prove his point. ‘It [Cell] promised to be this radical new computing architecture,’ said Gelsinger, ‘and basically years later the application programmers have barely been able to comprehend how to write applications for it.’This, according to Gelsinger, is one of the major reasons why Intel’s forthcoming Larrabee graphics chip will be entirely based on IA (Intel Architecture) x86 cores. ‘Our approach to this has been to not force programmers to make a radical architectural shift,’ explained Gelsinger, ‘but to take what they already know – this IA-compatible architecture – and extend the programming model to comprehend new visual computing data-parallel-throughput workloads, and that’s the strategy that we’re taking with Larrabee.’ Larrabee, according to Gelsinger, will simply expand on a standard programming model.