Itanium allies fund open-source compiler work

To add momentum to Intel's Itanium processor, funds are being raised to improve its key programming tool.

In the newest of a series of moves to try to impart momentum to Intel's Itanium processor, allies backing the chip are funding work to improve a key programming tool.

Some of the $10 billion in five years that members of the Itanium Solutions Alliance are spending on Itanium market and technology development will go to Itanium-specific improvements to the GCC , or GNU Compiler Collection. The Gelato Federation, an organization dedicated to boosting Linux on Itanium computers, is overseeing the work, the allies said this week at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.

Compilers translate human-written software into instructions a computer understands, and compilers are key to Itanium. One core principle behind the Itanium chip, codeveloped by Hewlett-Packard and Intel, is that compilers can sort instructions in advance so the chip can process several with each tick of its clock.

Specifically, the work is geared to improve compiler details: superblock scheduling, instruction scheduling and speculation, and memory disambiguation. The ultimate goal is "to deliver a GCC compiler optimized to support Itanium solutions," the alliance and Gelato Federation said in a statement.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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