When work on PrecisionImage.NET first began more than 2 years ago, the CPU was still king of the computational landscape. Intel ruled the roost (and still does) with their i7 / Xeon series of processors.  GPU computing was starting to catch on in some circles but it was – and is – very much a niche programming model. Two things are happening that will change all that, however.

First, Microsoft released v1 of their C++ AMP compiler for massively parallel platforms. This is an aggressively optimizing compiler with some really clever and elegant design touches. It’s also fully integrated into Visual Studio 2012 and benefits from the productivity enhancements and active developer community that the Microsoft development stack is known for.

Secondly, AMD is aggressively moving forward with their Fusion APU initiative. They clearly believe in the promise of Heterogeneous System Architectures (HSA) and are backing this up with some pretty decent initial offerings. The big news on this front, of course, is Sony’s announcement that the PlayStation 4 will feature an AMD fusion chip of unprecedented power and memory bandwidth. This is a major design win for AMD and something that should really help push the Fusion initiative forward.

Platforms like these are ideal for implementing complex image processing workflows. From its inception, we designed PrecisionImage.NET as a turn-key framework for exactly this kind of platform and we’re super excited to see these type of systems just around the corner. You’ll be able to run a fully-managed multicore processing branch in parallel with a GPU processing branch (running transparently on a C++ AMP back-end) on your Fusion chip, or add a discrete graphics card to a Fusion system and target each GPU – and the CPU- independently in your .NET code. With both the hardware and software sides of the story in place we should soon see very sudden…and very large…gains in performance in mainstream medical and industrial image processing, not to mention the interactive possibilities that those gains enable.