Every two years, Intel releases a major new version of its compilers, with new tools to go with them. In the intervening years, the company offers service pack updates for those tools. So, Intel today announced the release of Service Pack 1 for Parallel Studio XE 2011, the company’s collection of its C/C++ compiler, program performance libraries, and profiling tools. In this release, the company’s compilers were updated and supplemented with newer versions of the analysis tools.

Many of the updates in this release improved tools that were released last year, such as Cilk Plus and VTune Amplifier XE. “We used the name Studio XE 2011 to describe the combination of our compilers, our libraries and our analysis tools,” said James Reinders, evangelist and director of marketing and business for Intel Software. “You can get this on Windows and Linux, and the compilers and libraries are also available on Mac.”

Cilk Plus is an extension to C and C++ that is designed to enhance the performance of programs on multicore processors. VTune Amplifier is a program that profiles the performance of C and C++ programs on multicore processors.

Perhaps the most significant change in Service Pack 1 is the inclusion of Cilk Plus 1.1. “Cilk Plus uses compiler extensions. OpenMP is a set of library extensions, and Threading Building Blocks is a set of libraries,” said Reinders.

“There is often a debate as to which is the better approach. Cilk Plus takes a look at [what could we do] if we were to expand C++ with compiler extensions. We’re able to help with task-based parallelism and data problems with Cilk Plus in a way we can’t with Threading Building Blocks, because we have the compiler helping us. The disadvantage is that you can only use Cilk Plus with a compiler that supports it.”

While that would seem to be a major omission in a world where many