New PyOpenCL in Debian

Debian has now new version of PyOpenCL package (2011.2), thanks Piotr for sponsoring.  I have changed dependencies allowing to use non-NVIDIA OpenCL ibraries, closing #628702. There is still open Ubuntu bug, but Debian-Ubuntu package synchronisation should deal with it.

Popularity of GPGPU-related packages

While dealing with #628702 I have looked at metadata of different packages, including popularity of packages, gathered with popcon. Data used in the following analysis is from 2011-12-05. I have looked at following packages:

PyOpenCL is installed on 189 machines, used on 62 of them. PyCUDA is installed on 13 machines, used on 7. As for NVIDIA GPGPU, libcuda1 is installed on 1110 machines, used on 131, nvidia-libopencl1 is installed on 822 machines, used on 134. AMD OpenCL libraries (amd-libopencl1) are installed on 33 machines, used on 9.

AMD OpenCL libraries are not very popular because they were only uploaded into Debian with the last version of Catalyst drivers, two weeks ago. Much more people have installed GPGPU packages (libcuda1 and libopencl1) than are using it. Data for NVIDIA packages might be skewed in favour of libcuda1: nvidia-opencl-icd depends on libcuda1 and libnvidia-compiler which means that everyone who wants to use NVIDIA OpenCL libraries must install libcuda1 for OpenCL to work.

Although more people have installed libcuda1 (1110) than libopencl1 (822), similar number of people are using those packages (131 vs. 134). This might be caused by the package dependencies described in previous paragraph. About half of the people who are using libopencl1 are doing so through PyOpenCL – 134 active users of libopencl1 and 62 active users of python-pyopencl which depends on libopencl1.

There is definitely interest in both OpenCL and CUDA in Debian, although until recently we had only NVIDIA OpenCL libraries available in repositories. It will be interesting to see how introducing AMD OpenCL libraries and PyOpenCL allowing to use any OpenCL provider will change popularity of OpenCL and CUDA.

Hardware

To test OpenCL on AMD I have been using Forconn nT A3500. It is small machine with AMD Fusion architecture. It has two core CPU and ATI 6310 integrated in the same chip. I have not yet tested performance of it. It is interesting that Foxconn is producing hardware under their own name. It looks like they have learned how to do good hardware doing outsourcing, and now are competing on the global market (with quite nice products IMO). That’s feature of outsourcing, I guess.