New Intel Tool Debugs Hyper-Threading

Looking to boost development of its next-generation chips, Intel Tuesday released new debugging software for Pentium 4 and Xeon processor-based systems.

The tool called Thread Checker 1.0 is designed to help developers locate hard-to-find bugs in applications designed that include Hyper-Threading technology.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel says Hyper-Threading chips allow multithreaded operating systems and applications to view a single physical processor as if it were two logical processors. Intel says it’s similar to watching television while talking on the phone. Intel says that can increase performance of a multithreaded application by 40 percent.

The idea for Hyper-Threading was the brainchild of Intel senior engineer Glenn Hinton back in 1993. The company has begun filtering in the multithreading designs into its Pentium 4 processors as early as 1996. In addition to its P4 and Xeon processors, the chip making giant plans on using Hyper-Threading for its Itanium 2 family starting next year.

The company said its Thread Checker uses an advanced error detection engine that monitors execution and can pinpoint the exact lines of code that are causing threading errors. The tool classifies issues into categories ranging from errors to warnings, and shows variable, source line, and call stack information.

“Our goal is to make it easier for developers to take advantage of the latest Intel processor features by offering advanced software development tools,” Intel Software Products general manager Jonathan Khazam said in a statement. “During beta tests, Intel Thread Checker found elusive bugs that developers had been unable to find or did not even know existed. That’s real value for developers who write threaded software.”

In addition to the Intel Thread Checker, Intel offers a suite of software development products that includes Intel C++ and Intel Fortran compilers, Intel VTune analyzers and the Intel Integrated Performance Primitives software library.

The new tool is priced at $1,198 for a single user commercial license and systems running Microsoft Windows XP Professional and Windows 2000.

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