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Intel River Tail project optimizes JavaScript for multi-core CPUs

Posted on Thursday, September 13 2012 @ 14:33:26 CEST by

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A problem with multi-core processors is that software needs to be written in a way that can take advantage of multiple cores, and software is still trailing hardware in this area. One of Intel's projects that aims to tackle this is River Trail, this piece of software is designed to allow JavaScript code to exploit the parallelism of modern processors.

Intel's Renée James, senior vice president and general manger of software and services, talked about the project during a presentation about transparent computing. She explained Intel sees HTML5 as the secret to truly transparent computing, as developers will be able to better address multiple devices from a single development branch, although it depends on the application. Games like first person shooters are unlikely to go HTML5, while social networking or image sharing apps over HTML5 are pretty sensible.

A native implementation of River Trail has been developed in cooperation with Mozilla for the Firefox browser. Eventually, the technology will be added to the Firefox browser, and Intel hopes it will be picked up by other browser makers as well.
To demonstrate its commitment to HTML5, James announced that Intel has worked with Firefox creator Mozilla to produce a native implementation of the River Trail project. Originally developed at Intel Labs, River Trail is designed to provide data-parallelism for web applications. The result is JavaScript code that runs significantly faster on modern multi-core processors. For both Intel and Mozilla such technology is a major win: Mozilla gets an early lead in high-performance JavaScript, while Intel finds a way to convince those who just use a web browser that a quad-core - or higher - processor is a sound investment after all.

Initially available as a prototype extension, the River Trail technology will eventually be added to Firefox browsers natively - and, should it prove as successful as Intel hopes, will likely be snapped up by other browser makers. That's good news for everyone: when even smartphones are beginning to standardise on dual-core processors, sequential single-threaded code is the biggest bottleneck of all. By taking JavaScript, possibly the most popular web scripting language around, and allowing developers to quickly exploit the parallel processing capabilities of modern hardware, Intel and Mozilla are narrowing the gap between browser-based and native applications.
Source: Bit Tech



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