Intel launches Parallel Studio 2011

Intel has released Parallel Studio 2011, its latest tool to help developers write efficient code for multi-core processors.

The latest release of the tool, described by not-biased-at-all Intel developer James Reinders as "a very worthy successor to the original Intel Parallel Studio," adds new functionality that the company promises will prove invaluable to coders wishing to make their software run efficiently on multi-core and multi-processor systems.

The first new addition to the toolkit is the Intel Parallel Advisor. Designed to help programmers identify 'hot spots' within a codebase where parallelism can improve performance, the tool allows a coder to quickly add annotations about possible approaches to speeding things up.

It can also estimate any possible speed increases offered by the suggested changes and provide options for improving performance still further.

The estimations - and the correctness checks that prevent race conditions from forming as a result of changes - are based upon code added within the annotations, allowing developers to experiment with ways to improve the application's performance without making any changes to the underlying source code.

Intel has also expanded on its Threading Building Blocks offering, first introduced to developers five years ago, with a new Parallel Building Blocks umbrella project. Comprising three parts - Intel Cilk Plus, which demonstrates the use of compiler extensions, Array Building Blocks, which looks directly at data parallelism through SIMD, and the work that has already been done on the Threading Building Blocks project - Reinders claims that Parallel Building Blocks offers coders a major expansion of the programming model support offered by Intel.

Intel Parallel Studio 2011 is compatible with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, and retains backwards-compatibility with Visual Studio 2008 and 2005. The full package costs $799 plus $1,999 per user licence - meaning that this is a tool for the larger development houses only, although an academic version is available for $399 per user. More details are available on Intel's software site.