The Cilk plus language goes open source
Written by Mike James   
Friday, 19 August 2011

Cilk Plus is an extension to C/C++ designed to make parallel programming easier. Intel owns it but it has now made it open source as part of the GCC compiler project.

You may well know Cilk Plus (pronounced Silk Plus) because languages like Cuda and OpenMP grab all the attention in the parallel world at the moment but Cilk Plus is worth examining. It is an extension to C/C++ designed to make parallel programming easier. It is probably best known as part of the Intel Parallel Building Blocks. Intel acquired it as part of Cilk Arts back in 2009. The compiler has now been open sourced as the Cilk Plus branch of the GCC 4.7 compiler.

GCClogo

As Cilk Plus is an extension to C and C++, programmers typically do not need to restructure programs significantly in order to add parallelism. The key features of Cilk Plus are:

  • Write parallel programs using a simple model with only three new keywords to learn Cilk_spawn, Cilk_sync and Cilk_for.

  • Utilize data parallelism by simple array notations that include elemental function capabilities.

  • The serial semantics of Cilk Plus allows you to debug in a familiar serial debugger.

  • The runtime system operates smoothly on systems with hundreds of cores.

You can get an overview of the language in the video below:

 

      

 

More Information

Cilk Plus

Intel Cilk Plus specification and runtime ABI, v1.1

 

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