back to article ARM exec counsels massively parallel patience

Don't expect parallel-processing power to invigorate consumer devices for a few more years. But when it does, it may save your child's life – or at least protect you from a nasty lawsuit. OpenCL, which enables a GPU to share processing chores with a CPU, will be slow to affect the consumer market, seeing as how OpenCL-capable …


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  1. Bob H


    ZiiLabs ZMS series chips have had OpenCL for ages now! How is that not proper?

  2. nyelvmark
    Thumb Down

    No commercial application.

    >>He also notes that there's "quite interesting" work being done on detecting sudden, right-angle intrusions into a car's path, such as a kid running out into the street in front of your two tons of steel.

    Only useful in regimes where the kid is more valuable than the car.

    1. Oninoshiko

      I can't think of anywhere (first world) that a car is more valuble then a child.

      But even if somewhere has values that topsy-turvy, no loss is certainly better then the loss of the "lesser."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        If the scenario is a kid running out in front of the car, I believe most countries would say that the child has zero value. Your insurance (or you could possibly sue the kids parents) will have to pay for the damage to the car, but you don't need to worry about the value of the idiot kid who ran out in front of you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Just worry about your own life

          A lot of drivers have been murdered because they hit a child. In many cases the driver wasn't really to blame, and the child wasn't even killed, but that didn't save them.

    2. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      "Safety mechanisms"

      There is no doubt that computers are necessary in some applications (such as flying an extremely unstable aircraft, or anti-lock braking systems) but I think this thing about sudden right angle intrusions may be potentially more hazardous than just driving carefully and safely.

      I don't know that a computer would be actually better. What would happen if there were a pigeon flew across your path?

      And you were in traffic and your computer just braked your car. Ok, maybe it would be smart enough to figure out it was a pigeon. Maybe not.

      Would you take that chance?

      Actually, that brings up another interesting debate. Who would then be responsible for the accident?

      Do you remember that scene from "Fight Club"?

      "A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one."

      "Are there a lot of these kinds of accidents?"

      "You wouldn't believe."

      "Which car company do you work for?"

      "A major one."

    3. Christian Berger

      @Only usefull in regimes where the kid is more valuable than the car

      Yes, but think of the scratches a child might leave on the car. That's why some car drivers still try to avoid people.

      However there is virtually no punishment for people who do kill other people while driving. Otto Wiesheu, famous German politician once killed a Jew while drunk driving. He got 12 months probation, plus a 20k DM fine.

  3. Oninoshiko


    I think the automation stuff may be a good use for this, type of thing, but I'm a little unsure of why Open-CL is going to be required for it... This seems to be part of this cyclic phases of computing:

    1) processors are created.

    2) coprocessors are added where processor cannot do the work alone

    3) coprocessors are integrated with the processors, leading back to 1

    This does lead to a kinda of incremental advancement, but also to a rather complex system of ancient compatibilities. I wonder if a periodically washing the slate clean and designing a system from the ground up is useful. Maybe even if the market doesn't adopt it.

    He also talks about Augmented Reality, while I can see potential for simple things like heads-up displays, most of the work I see with augmented reality is really just toys, rather then something really useful. I hope for something like the imaging system used by Simon Tam in "Firefly," but I'm just not convinced we are moving to the realm of the useful.

    I see more development along the lines of the series Fractle's mostly artistic usages. Which, while a wonderful device to create an enjoyable fiction, I think requires some practical use-case before there will be an widespread acceptance.

  4. N13L5

    "doing it with a camera is cheaper"

    err, I think I prefer radar, cause it does a nice job piercing through dense fog...

    One of those foggy mornings driving to my job a far away exhibition on the highway, I barely saw a darkish shadow on the side of the road (which turned out to be a truck that had stopped and pulled to the side to avoid smashing into the rear end of a mass car pile up)

    Thanks to this alert truckdriver being visible earlier than the rest of that tangled mess, I too, managed to stop a few meters before slamming into it.

    While thanking my good fortune, a nasty thought yanked me alert: what about the cars following on the road? I kicked my car in gear and made haste to drive over to the right side and then off the road entirely, into the frozen field...

    Twice lucky, cause 2 more cars sped crashing into the rearmost wrecks.

    I saw no ambulance or police, started driving alongside the road to find the nearest emergency callbox. The mess seemed as long as a football field, and the silence was eerie, while I contemplated if I should stay there to help or find a phone to call more help.

    This was in the 80's and if vehicles had radar then, this probably wouldn't have happened...

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: "doing it with a camera is cheaper"

      Hmm, if you "barely saw" it in time you were probably going a shade too fast for the visibility conditions.

      The other two cars you mention were obviously going waaay too fast for the conditions....

      Doesn't matter how many gadgets you fit to a car, if the driver insists on driving like a twat it's still going to hit something eventually. The only solution there is to make the things fully autonomous.

      While radar might be able to see through the fog, surely it would be far more sensible for a camera equipped car to automatically limit the speed to one at which it can still stop when it sees something? Remember here that other things happen on a road that a radar triggered emergency braking system won't deal with and the driver's eyes are at the same disadvantage as the camera......

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