Close to Metal
In computing, Close To Metal ("CTM" in short, originally called Close-to-the-Metal) is the name of a beta version of a low-level programming interface developed by ATI, now the AMD Graphics Product Group, aimed at enabling GPGPU computing. CTM was short-lived, and the first production version of AMD's GPGPU technology is now called Stream SDK.
CTM gave developers direct access to the native instruction set and memory of the massively parallel computational elements in modern AMD video cards. CTM replaced the graphics-centric DirectX and OpenGL APIs for the GPGPU programmer while exposing previously unavailable low-level functionality. R580 (ATI x1900) and later generations of AMD's GPU microarchitecture supported the CTM interface.
CTM's commercial successor, AMD Stream SDK, was released under AMD EULA in December 2007 after the software stack was rewritten. Stream SDK provides high-level in addition to low-level tools for general-purpose access to AMD graphics hardware.
Using GPUs to perform computations holds a lot of potential for some applications because of the fundamental differences of GPU microarchitectures compared to CPUs. GPUs achieve much greater throughput (calculations per second) by executing many programs in parallel and restricting flow control (the ability of one program to execute instructions independently of another). Modern GPUs also have addressable on-die memory and extremely high performance multi-channel external memory.
AMD subsequently switched from CTM to OpenCL.
Some components of CTM and the Stream SDK are open source, such as the Brook+ C-like language and compiler.
See also 
- AMD Stream SDK download page, retrieved June 12, 2008
- ^ AMD “Close to Metal” Technology Unleashes the Power of Stream Computing: AMD Press Release, November 14, 2006.
- ^ AnandTech report: ATI's Stream Processing & Folding@Home, September 30, 2006.
- ^ Universität Dortmund, Fachbereich Mathematik research: Accelerating Double precision on GPUs (Proceedings of ASIM 2005), Dominik Goddeke, Robert Strzodka, and Stefan Turek. 18th Symposium on Simulation Technique, 2005.[dead link]
- ^ TGDaily report: Nvidia activates a supercomputer in your PC, February 16, 2007.
- ATI official site
- AMD official website
- PDF (134 KiB)
- PDF (671 KiB)
- PDF (866 KiB)
- AMD Close-to-the-Metal (CTM) open source project site