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Nvidia has released Parallel Nsight, a software development environment for GPU-accelerated applications that work with Microsoft Visual Studio.

The company has also released the Cuda Toolkit 3.1, an update to its Cuda software development kit (SDK).

High-performance-computing (HPC) developers in fields such as oil and gas, bioscience and finance are increasingly tapping the parallel processing capabilities of GPUs and Windows HPC Server 2008 to improve performance.

Nvidia Parallel Nsight connects these worlds, providing the professional tools required to develop and deploy HPC cluster applications.

David Rich, director of technical computing at Microsoft, said: ‘Research shows that developers believe the most difficult tasks when developing parallel applications are debugging, performance tuning and designing parallel algorithms.

‘By integrating GPU computing into Visual Studio, Nvidia’s Parallel Nsight is transforming the way GPU-based parallel computing applications are developed for Windows,’ he added.

Visual Studio developers can now use Parallel Nsight to debug Cuda C/C++ or Directcompute applications on the GPU using the same familiar tools and techniques as on the central processing unit (CPU).

Parallel Nsight also provides the analysis tools that give developers the information required to achieve high levels of GPGPU application performance.

George Tang, Arcsoft’s vice-president and general manager of the Video and Home Entertainment Group, said: ‘Nvidia Parallel Nsight has become our daily development tool when working with our Cuda-based applications such as SimHD and H.264 encoder.

‘The step-by-step breakpoint debugging on actual GPU hardware, as well as the performance analyser, help to efficiently fine-tune our products, bringing the performance to the next level,’ he added.

Parallel Nsight also provides a suitable environment for graphics development, delivering the DirectX 11 tools required by graphics developers to quickly and efficiently develop games and visual computing applications.

Anton Kaplanyan, lead researcher at Crytek, said: ‘DirectX 11 delivers the technology for game developers to create immersive worlds, dynamic characters and more realistic gameplay.

‘Game developers are leveraging both the GPU and CPU to achieve these new levels of realism and Parallel Nsight allows us to look under the hood of the GPU and makes parallel debugging not only possible but pleasant, significantly accelerating DirectX 11 development,’ he added.

Parallel Nsight provides several specific features for graphics developers.

The Graphics Debugger allows developers to debug all HLSL graphics shaders directly on the GPU.

The Graphics Inspector enables the real-time examination of DirectX rendering calls and GPU pipeline state to craft optimal GPU code, while Pixel History shows all operations that affect a given pixel, helping developers to quickly identify rendering errors and to create optimal rendering code.

In addition, Parallel Nsight Analyzer allows OpenGL developers to optimise applications by presenting OpenGL API trace information on a timeline correlated with other GPU and CPU events.

Nvidia Parallel Nsight software supports Windows HPC Server 2008, Windows 7 and Windows Vista, which works closely with the Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Professional edition.

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