Mac OS X Snow Leopard will focus on parallelism

Posted on Wednesday, Jun 11 2008 @ 01:18 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Steve Jobs told NY Times that Mac OS X Snow Leopard will focus principally on technology for parallel computing to speed up the performance. Snow Leopard will have a much smaller footprint and Jobs claims Apple has made a parallel-programming breakthrough with Grand Central, a technology that takes advantage of multi-core processors. Apple's website claims Grand Central makes Mac OS X multicore aware and optimizes it for allocating tasks across multiple cores and processors. The firm also states Grand Central will make it much easier for software developers to squeeze every last drop of performance from multi-core systems.
“We’ve added over a thousand features to Mac OS X in the last five years,” he said Monday in an interview after his presentation. “We’re going to hit the pause button on new features.”

Instead, the company is going to focus on what he called “foundational features” that will be the basis for a future version of the operating system.

“The way the processor industry is going is to add more and more cores, but nobody knows how to program those things,” he said. “I mean, two, yeah; four, not really; eight, forget it.”

Apple, he claimed, has made a parallel-programming breakthrough.

It is all about the software, he said. Apple purchased a chip company, PA Semi, in April, but the heart of Snow Leopard will be about a parallel-programming technology that the company has code-named Grand Central.
Jobs also talked about OpenCL (Open Compute Library), a general-purpose computing technology that will tap into the computing power of GPUs. There was a rumour that Apple adopted NVIDIA's CUDA technology but according to Steve Jobs OpenCL is "way beyond what NVIDIA or anyone else has".
Snow Leopard will also tap the computing power inherent in the graphics processors that are now used in tandem with microprocessors in almost all personal and mobile computers. Mr. Jobs described a new processing standard that Apple is proposing called OpenCL (Open Compute Library) which is intended to refocus graphics processors on standard computing functions.

“Basically it lets you use graphics processors to do computation,” he said. “It’s way beyond what Nvidia or anyone else has, and it’s really simple.”
Other features of Snow Leopard include Microsoft Exchange support, extended 64-bit technology that supports up to 16TB of memory and a new multimedia platform called QuickTime X.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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