HardCopy Issue 60

Issue 60 – Summer 2013

Editorial Intro – Matt Nicholson

The annual Intel Software Conference is always worth attending, and not just for its location (this year, a converted chateau just outside Chantilly). Intel has been the driving force behind the personal computer industry from the beginning, and introduced this series of events in 2006 as a way of alerting developers to the need to master the parallel programming techniques that will allow them to take advantage of multi-core processors.

The industry has changed considerably in the intervening years, and so has this conference. Initially the focus was on Intel Core processors on the desktop and Intel Xeon in the servers. Intel’s main weapon here has been Parallel Studio. Introduced in 2009, this collection of tools and libraries is aimed primarily at optimising C/C++ code for multi-core processing.

Then, in 2012, Intel found itself challenged by NVIDIA which had realised that its graphics cards, some of which boasted graphics processors with more than 1,000 cores, could do more than generate graphics. Intel’s response was its Many Integrated Core (MIC) initiative which manifested as Xeon Phi, a multi-core co-processor architecture that could offer more power, albeit at a higher price.

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A year later and the challenge has come from ARM which produces the processors that are to be found in almost every modern mobile and tablet. Intel’s strategy for this growing market has been the Atom range of processors which first appeared in 2008. However the Atom has yet to make serious inroads which, coupled with reports of falling sales in the desktop market, could be problematic for Intel.

Which is why Thomas Zipplies opened this year’s event with presentations devoted to the two tools that lie behind a new strategy for building Intel’s presence in this market.

The first is Intel System Studio which complements Parallel Studio XE in offering an integrated suite of tools designed to help the developer build applications for mobile and embedded devices. The suite supports Intel Atom, Core and Xeon processors, as well as Wind River Linux. There was even talk of a System Studio for Android.

More intriguing is the Intel HTML5 Development Environment. This comes in two parts: the XDK (Cross Development Kit) plug-in for the Chrome browser which presents a visual environment in which to develop HTML5 apps for mobile devices; and a cloud-based service called App Dev Center that will deploy the results to Apple’s App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Chrome Store and even Facebook, should you so desire. Both are free of charge.

Such an approach removes the need for developers to tackle the native SDKs and the intricacies of deploying to each of these “walled gardens”, as Zipplies dubbed them. Why is Intel doing this? Because it encourages developers to use an open platform to develop mobile apps, and that will make it easier for Intel to build a presence. I look forward to evaluating their impact at next year’s conference.

Articles for this issue

Inside Data 60

Published: May 1, 2013 | Author: Graham Keitch

Some of today’s IT current challenges are not dissimilar to those of 30 years ago.

Definitive statements

Published: May 1, 2013 | Author: Matt Nicholson

Matt Nicholson uncovers five quotes that define 30 years of computing.

Disaster recovery

Published: May 1, 2013 | Author: Kay Ewbank

Could your business recover from an IT disaster? Kay Ewbank suggests some strategies.

The Linux option

Published: May 1, 2013 | Author: Simon Bisson

Can a modern Linux distribution help you get more bang for the buck out of existing server hardware?

The new Office

Published: May 1, 2013 | Author: Mary Branscombe

Cloud integration is fundamental to the latest version of Microsoft Office, as Mary Branscombe discovers.

Working with files

Published: May 1, 2013 | Author: Tim Anderson

Navigating the file format maze: Tim Anderson finds some tools that can help.

Straight talking – Issue 60

Published: May 1, 2013 | Author: Tim Anderson

Everybody wants it, but what is native code? Tim Anderson gets to the bottom of this latest trend.

And another thing 60

Published: May 1, 2013 | Author: Jon Honeyball

Jon Honeyball sees new development opportunities in SMartTV at 4K resolution.

Short Cuts – Issue 60

Published: September 1, 2013 | Author: Paul Stephens

Paul Stephens takes a sideways look at the world of IT.