Friday 26 February 2010

Poor neglected blog...

Nearly 3 months since my last post :(

Work has been exceptionally busy: In the last two months on top of my normal product maintenance and improvement duties I have prepared and filed a patent application, architected and largely completed a distributed, resilient document processing framework and found a bit of time to eat and sleep!

I've noticed other blogs in the raytracing / graphics / visualization space have been very quiet lately - maybe everyone else is also working like crazy?

Not a huge amount has happened in my raytracer and SPH projects although got some interesting effects running with a non-uniform mass particle system when I had time over Christmas. Screenshots soon.

I do have the beta release of Nexus (the NVidia Visual Studio plugin)  but sadly it only runs on Windows Vista or Windows 7 which leads nicely on to my next point:

I am a bit irritated with Microsoft for two reasons:  Even though I purchased a 64 bit Windows XP professional about 6 or 8 months ago there is no upgrade path to Windows 7...  Secondly even though visual studio 2008 standard has a switch for openMP it doesnt contain the openmp headers. Only the more expensive professional version does. Not something that was immediately obvious from the documentation before I purchased...

Although I also run Linux (centos) I prefer to develop on a Windows GUI - less buggy and more responsive than gnome / kde in my opinion. For running code the Linux os does usually win though! I would really like to run Nexus so am a bit stuck about what to do....  Succumb and buy Windows 7 and get Nexus on Visual Studio? or just forget entirely about Windows development / environment and use Linux / gcc / Intel compilers instead?  While the Intel compilers are great (if a bit expensive) for an IDE I really do like Visual Studio.  Most of my code is cross platform and for graphics I mostly use openGL so could switch without too much trouble...    But direct compute is so tempting.....

Arrrrgh what to do!


  1. Can you share the performance results? how about ur experiance in GCC, AMD's x86 Open64 compiler, PGI? which are free...

  2. I don't have any real performance tests, so this is only my opinion with small amount of timing testing to back it up.

    Firstly fortran is almost always faster than C. This goes for the Intel and GCC compiler suites.

    I think both gcc and Microsoft compilers give comparable results although the .o object files made by gcc are rather nice as you can easily link with fortran modules.

    Although I don't personally have the Intel compilers, I've used them at work in both Linux and Windows environments and they give great results. By far the best I've worked with.

    Ultimately if I was to buy a compiler suite other than gcc/gfortran and had the money it would have to be the Intel one.

    I've not used the AMD one or the PGI compilers so can't comment on them at all.