AMD Joins Open Source With Framewave

Chip vendor AMD wants to help developers produce applications that are faster than ever before. To do that AMD has open sourced its AMD Performance Library (APL) as the Framewave open source project.

AMD claims that it has been working on APL (now Framewave) for almost three years and that over 3200 performance routine optimizations are now part of the library. The AMD effort is intended to be open and not exclude other chip vendors like Intel, though Intel has its own open source effort for driving optimizations.

“We’re taking a set of performance libraries that we’ve been working on and releasing them as open source,” Margaret Lewis, AMD director of commercial solutions, told “The idea [is] that there is more utility with them in open source and to encourage a wider body of developers to get started with optimizations and to add their own routines to this core set of libraries.”

Framewave is linked with a compiler (such as GCC or Visual Studio compilers) that take advantage of performance routines to optimize an application. Lewis explained that, in general terms, Framewave is about helping to reduce the number of instructions required in an application as well as ensuring that applications take advantage of multi-threading capabilities.

While Framewave is being open sourced by AMD, Lewis argues that the routines used could apply to processors from other vendors as well. She added that other vendors would also be welcome to participate in the Framewave effort.

The idea of a chip vendor with an open source project for application performance is not a new one at this point. AMD’s chief rival Intel last year open sourced its Threading Building Blocks (TBB) technology. Lewis argued that the two projects are different approaches to solving a similar problem.

In Lewis’ view TBB is about helping developers to produce code that is multithreaded. In AMD’s case with Framewave AMD is giving developers libraries with multithreaded routines so a developer just needs to needs to link their compiler to the routine to get the benefits of the threading.

“Neither way is right or wrong, both are needed,” Lewis said.

As is the case with Framewave, Intel’s TBB effort is also open to wider involvement including participation from AMD. However just because a project is open to participation doesn’t always mean that everyone participates.

“I’m not aware of any feedback or contributions from AMD on TBB,” James Reinders, chief evangelist and director of marketing for Intel software development products, told “I’m also not aware of any issues with TBB on AMD processors. So I’m not sure there is anything specific to AMD processors which would enhance TBB. If there is, AMD and anyone else is welcome to contribute. Companies making processors which are not x86 have made contributions or feedback – which have been incorporated.”

Though AMD may not be participating in Intel’s TBB effort, overall Reinders noted that Intel’s decision to open source TBB was the right one.

“We have had contributions and feedback to help with some ports – things like Ubuntu packaging, Solaris make files, and a few other relatively simple but important feedbacks on porting,” Reinders noted. “We also got a lot of feedback on what to work on next. The engineering to implement the key requests should result in a new version by mid-2008.”

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