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OpenCL Programming Guide 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321749642
ISBN-10: 0321749642
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Welcome to the new world of heterogeneous parallel programming with this authoritative and accessible guide to the complete OpenCL Programming Model.”

–Professor Pat Hanrahan, Stanford University

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 648 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (July 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321749642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321749642
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Liad Weinberger on August 12, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
OpenCL Programming Guide is the 2nd book (to my awareness) being published, which deals with the new and exciting standard by the KHRONOS Group: OpenCL. The goal of this book is to provide the reader with an extensive walkthrough of the standard, providing explanations to complement the standard's specs. The authors of the book dim it "a pragmatic guide for people interested in writing code", and that it is.

The book is at its first edition, and it shows. Throughout the book there are typos, and what can only be explained as 'copy & paste' originated mistakes. Some of the code samples contain generic errors such as memory leaks or incorrect remarks, and some of the figures simply do not convey the intended concept, or are erroneous. The majority of errata I personally reported dealt with these types of errors, which are arguably acceptable (for a first edition) as they are not regarding the focus of the book, however, the book also contains some errata that does touch the actual focus, like an incorrect explanation (e.g. reported issue #14 on pg.132, and reported issue #4 on pg.65), or incorrect usage of returned information (e.g. reported issue #8 on page 88).

On the other hand, the book does provide good insight on a vast portion of the standard. Although it claims to cover the entire spec, the level of this coverage is inconsistent and in some aspects completely lacking (e.g. the explanation of clEnqueueTask() could have been accompanied with a concise example, but in turn ended up as a short sub-section). On the portions with most interest, i.e., OpenCL's support for data-parallel algorithms, the book does provide extended information, and adds to the OpenCL specs, by clarifying the concepts.
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Format: Paperback
The heavy book with the thin green cover is a "must read" book for beginning OpenCL developers. Experienced OpenCL developers could find some chapters interesting too. The book can be used both as day to day reference book and as a manual.

The detailed introduction (chapter 1) enables the reader to understand the essentially important thing - the design of the technology (OpenCL standard v.1.1). It is considered in the book from 4 sides which are reviewed in the connection with each other: platform, execution, memory and programming models. If you are the novice in OpenCL, I urgently recommend you to read introduction firstly.

The narration continues with the "Hello World" example (chapter 2). It is big enough and divided into several subsections. Each of them we can consider as simple steps to create a real OpenCL application. I like it. After 1st an 2nd chapters, I guess, it is hard enough to NOT understand how to write your own OpenCL software. Sure, in this case you need to use some reference book (or the text of OpenCL standard), but from this point you are able to do it without a special assistance.

The next several chapters represent the mentioned by me so called "reference book". In particular, chapter 3 gives a detailed account of OpenCL platform, devices and context; chapters 4 ad 5 represent in detail OpenCL C programming language (operators, types, keywords and other things which you could find in any other programming language); chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9 describe in detail remained components of the technology: kernels, memory objects, images, events and so on. Well, I've concluded that chapters from 3 to 9 could be use as a real day to day reference book. For me it is quite useful.
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Format: Paperback
For people who know nothing on OpenCL and little on heterogeneous programming, this is a must-have book. The books cover a lot of OpenCL stuffs, including basic concepts, API calls, and programming in OpenCL C language. And in the second part of the book, a few application using the OpenCL programming platform are presented, in which OpenCL optimization skills are discussed and we can see as a new standard OpenCL could be very promising in future. This book assumes the readers have C/C++ programming experience and does a great job on introducing OpenCL to these audience.

Aside from the excellent introduction and programming guidance, as a beginning to intermediate programmer using OpenCL, I wish the book can have more material on the following few aspects:

1. The book does not cover too many optimization techniques. The book is to teach you how to use OpenCL but not how to optimize the code. This is understandable because OpenCL is a technology still in its infant stage. But adding those could definitely improve people's interest in OpenCL and meet needs of those more advanced readers.

2. Debug technique. Debugging a kernel in OpenCL can be a huge pain! You cannot step into the kernel to trace it. I wish to read more debug techniques.

3. The code samples are downloaded using CVS and it seems like there are problems when using them. It also lacks of detailed readme files.

4. OpenCL platform/hardware comparison, say nVidia:AMD:Intel:QUALCOMM on OpenCL.

5. More use case studies on mobile platforms.

6. Future of OpenCL. As a new technology/standard, what challenges it is facing and where it is heading to.

This book is probably the first complete OpenCL programming guide book. And I highly recommend it.
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