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jtrudeau
Staff
Staff

Feedback discussion: How is AMD doing for developers?

My goal is to ensure that you as a software developer:

  • Get what you need to develop code for AMD platforms
  • Know where to find it

   

Use this thread to provide feedback to AMD developer outreach.  I am very interested in

  • Kudos - what you think we're doing well
  • Complaints - what you think we are not doing well
  • Suggestions - what new ideas or approaches might help

   

You can start independent threads if you want, but it's handy if all the ideas are in one place. You can provide me feedback or ideas about:

I will try to respond to any suggestion within 1 business day, but you know, I do take time off occasionally. So I won't promise. I do promise to listen. And thanks in advance for the feedback.

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48 Replies
atcl
Adept I

Re: Feedback discussion: How is AMD doing for developers?

Hi,
I think AMD is on the right track with their technologies (HSA/hUMA have a huge potential in scientific computing), but in my opinion they lack documentation. I would have two requests to make my development flow smoother. First, I would like to have an overview on which CPUs/GPUs/APUs support which version of GCN/HSA/hUMA along with a definition of the versions capabilities. Second, an online (HTML) documentation of ACMLscript would be nice to have.

Thank you!

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jtrudeau
Staff
Staff

Re: Feedback discussion: How is AMD doing for developers?

Excellent. I likewise am impressed by the huge potential. This is a bit of a new domain for me (my background is in developer tools and microcontrollers). The compute power this will open up is phenomenal.

In my fairly brief time here, those seem like eminently reasonable requests. I can get them into the respective teams and we’ll see what we can do. Thanks for the feedback.

darkradeon
Adept III

Re: Feedback discussion: How is AMD doing for developers?

Kudos - what you think we're doing well

  • Graphics drivers' applications compatibility, I (quite) never had a issue with legacy/old applications (games included I confess!) related to catalyst drivers.
  • AMD GPUs documentation, AMD is the only "big" IHV that provides full and comprehensive documentation of it's hardware products (GPU ASM is lovely!).
  • AMD Radeon SDK provides pretty good rendering algorithms and techniques for free (opposed to the gfx mafia NDA style)
  • I heard that you are injecting Mantle philosophy to the Khronos group (hurray!)
  • Code XL is becoming a great IDE
  • HSA is looking to be great...


Complaints - what you think we are not doing well

  • ... but HSA looks still far away, especially for non-OpenCL world (not only AMD fault... maybe something is coming with WDDM 2.0/Win10 I can guess :O)
  • GPU PerfStudio still lacks of D3D11.1/11.2 and OGL 4.4 support. : (
  • OpenGL 4.5 support? (I know that current OSs' driver models do not help).
  • Still no drivers for a certain private/closed early access program of a certain software-house (you know that!)...
  • Mantle SDK is still closed for independent developers and hobbyists. : (


Suggestions - what new ideas or approaches might help

  • Well, fix my "complaints" ^_^
  • Bring more frequent updates to GpuPerfstudio and CodeXL
  • Public more Radeon SDK samples! (like clustered deferred rendering with page tables)
  • Desktop colour calibration (via Catalyst Control Center):
    • Add an option to force colour settings on full-screen application.
    • Add an option to create a colour profile file (icc/icm).
    • Improve the colour calibration section of the CCC,providing a section that helps the calibration for those people that do not have spectrophotometers/spectroradiometers.
  • I know this is not related to the software but: do not use any-more the "turbine" fan cooling as reference GPU cooling or fix it! (seriously, it's noisy!)
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bsp2020
Elite

Re: Feedback discussion: How is AMD doing for developers?

I have a suggestion. I think AMD should create online class that shows how to program using OpenCL. I learned about GPU programming through online MOOC (Coursera, Introduction to Parallel Programming With CUDA - Udacity) and taking those classes were a blast and help me understand what GPU computing is all about. Unfortunately, both those classes use CUDA. I also found that using CUDA environment was much easier to get started. After I learned CUDA and GPU programming, I tried to use CodeXL and AMD SDK to learn OpenCL. However, CodeXL was constantly crashing my VS and I found it more difficult to read different books and/or documentations to get going. It would have helped if I could get all the information I need to learn OpenCL from a single place.

Creating a MOOC about OpenCL and how to use AMD tools as well as fundamental parallel algorithms will be very helpful in getting new developers to adopt AMD development tools. There is even an open source MOOC platform (Open edX) so AMD do not have to partner with coursera/udacity if AMD wants to keep it internal to maintain full control of the content.

I think the success of AMD/HSA/GPGPU depends on wide adaption by the industry and educating more people to use OpenCL will be very important in the long term. OpenCL University Kit (http://developer.amd.com/india-developer-zone/university-kit-book/) was a good attempt but I find well built MOOCs much easier to follow and beneficial. Also, OCL University Kit needs to be updated for OCL2.0 and HSA anyway.

I'm sorry that AMD will not hold developer conference this year. I assume that it has something to do with the financial hardship the company is going through. However, I think it is vital to promote and educate developers to use AMD tools and show them all the benefits of HSA/GPGPU computing can do.

I'm glad to see that AMD is starting to pay more attention to developers and community (http://developer.amd.com/community/blog/2014/11/04/what-do-you-need/). I hope to see more great things from AMD in the future.

nubok
Journeyman III

Re: Feedback discussion: How is AMD doing for developers?

What I'm missing most from AMD is current GPU drivers for laptops. Let me explain: I own a HP Pavilion dv6 laptop with Switchable Graphics. HP seems not willing to provide current graphics drivers (both for the Intel and for the AMD GPU). The problem is that the current laptop drivers AMD provides will not install on my laptop - a message comes that I'm supposed to look at the laptop producer's website.

Since I also use my laptop for development, it is very complicated for me to use all the cool ressources AMD seems to be willing to provide, since this very often requires a reasonably current Catalyst driver installed. I know that there are ugly hacks available, such as the drivers from Leshcat Labs. I'm sure AMD knows what kind of problems this causes. But on the other hand: This shows how urgently some users require decent current Catalyst drivers for their laptops (often with Switchable Graphics). Thus I believe this should be a problem that AMD is able to solve (NVidia already solved it in the past with NVidia Verde: Just accept a button that you know that you better should look for drivers at the laptop producer's website and you can install a current graphics driver that almost always works).

Perhaps this complaint/suggestion might seem a little bit off topic here. But since AMD seems to be genuily interested in what problems developers have - this is my number 1. Even if I hadn't this problem (say, because, I developed on a desktop computer with a dedicated AMD graphics card), I surely have lots of users of my software using laptops that will not be able to use my software that uses AMD's latest features, because no decent current driver is available for them.

So my Number 1 wish: Provide current drivers for laptop GPUs that can also be installed and work even if the laptop manufacturer is not willing/able to provide a current driver. NVidia solved this problem with NVidia Verde - I'm sure, you can, too. How am I supposed to develop for the cool features AMD provides if no working driver is available?

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jtrudeau
Staff
Staff

Re: Feedback discussion: How is AMD doing for developers?

I personally really like the idea of a MOOC devoted to GPGPU using open standards, since I have a strong training background. I suspect the boss would like this idea too, since he has an academic background. As always, no promises. This one could be a real resource issue. But I think I'm going to start beating the bushes about this.

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jtrudeau
Staff
Staff

Re: Feedback discussion: How is AMD doing for developers?

Thanks! I'll see all of this gets to the various engineering teams. I _THINK_ CodeXL is on about a 6 month cadence. Not sure about that, so don't hold me to it .There is a significant downside to releasing too often - you spend more time updating and getting everything to work together.

Again personal opinion, I am very fond of sample code. SO I like that idea I love it when people agree with my pets. Trying to avoid confirmation bias, but I'm of the opinion that good example code is worth its weight in gold. Anyone have thoughts on this?

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jtrudeau
Staff
Staff

Re: Feedback discussion: How is AMD doing for developers?

I know where to go with your feedback, so thanks!

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darakian
Adept I

Re: Feedback discussion: How is AMD doing for developers?

Kudos:

Going full open source on the linux stack. Thank you so much!

6 display out cards (coupled with the linux drivers)

OpenCL performance on consumer cards (might hurt your bottom line, but it helps mine )

HSA/hUMA are both awesome developments that I'd like to use

Complaints:

What happened to Berlin!? (Opteron version of kaveri). If i could get a cheap 1U system I'd be all over this as a dev system.

Libraries and examples (OpenCL) are either non-existent or hard to find.

A lot of your resources read/play like marketing material. STOP IT!

Suggestions:

Work with someone (supermicro maybe?) to get a line of cheap, current 1U or 2U systems available.

Run a blog series on coding in openCL/HSA models and don't try to sell me an IDE/CPU/APU/GPU/etc... in line with the education.

Provide some simple, independent, libraries that make use of HSA features. Abstract them so I can use them in my network widget program or my retro respin mspaint++ program without really understanding them.

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