Altera backs OpenCL and WebCL for growth into the server market

July 10, 2012 // By Nick Flaherty
Altera sees significant growth for FPGAs in the server market from the OpenCL family of multi-core programming languages says its head of strategy.

“I can’t over-emphasise the importance of OpenCL,” said Danny Biran, senior vice president of strategy for the company speaking in London. “Now we see a lot of momentum behind it and I believe this is a very significant opportunity,” he said.
OpenCL provides a C-like language for programming devices with multiple cores – whether general purpose, DSP or hardwired - and offers software programmers a way to programme FPGAs without having to use VHDL or Verilog. The standard’s backers include Apple, Intel, Texas Instruments and Nvidia.
Altera’s OpenCL compiler will be included in the Quartus design tool in Q1 next year and work with the new Qsys network-on-a-chip tool.
Moves to port OpenCL to the World Wide Web to create WebCL were also welcomed by Biran. “For us WebCL is a positive move as with OpenCL on the Web we see more opportunities in the server space,” he said. “The idea of taking the server software and offloading it to an FPGA is very exciting.”
This is creating opportunities in the banking sector says Steve Dodsworth, sales director for Europe. “We are talking with people in the Square Mile and Canary Wharf, with quantitative analysts, about using OpenCL “