Justin Rattner, Intel CTO and director of Intel Labs, made the announcement as part of his keynote address during Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2011 held in San Francisco.
This lead into a demonstration of RiverTrail, which was shown to improve the performance of a particle physics simulator 15 fold from 3 frames per second (fps) to 45fps.
At their parallel web applications booth at IDF, Intel Labs staff Richard Hudson and Stephan Herhut showed a similar demonstration of the technology, with the notable addition of a resource monitor which showed the simulator maxing out all 8 cores of their demo machine.
With the parallelism extension turned off only one core was used.
Although the demonstration made use of a particle simulation, Intel said that the aim of the project isn’t only for scientific applications.
In an earlier conversation at their booth, Hudson explained that they made the technology easy enough for productivity programmers to use.
The idea was to help developers avoid the complexities typically associated with programming for parallelism, such as locks and other tricks needed to prevent programs from behaving badly.
This would enable developers to build new kinds of in-browser applications such photo and video editing programs or 3D games, Intel said.
In a video released today with the announcement, Herhut said that whenever they had to make a choice between performance and safety, they went for safety.
On their use of OpenCL, Hudson explained that their principle is to “run everywhere, but run best on Intel.”
Mozilla’s Eich said that he sits on the ECMAScript standards body and promised to promote RiverTrail there.
Jan Vermeulen is a guest of Intel at IDF 2011.