School of Computing Research Colloquia

General purpose GPU computing: Transforming your desktop into a personal super-computer

Thomas Nowotny, Department of Informatics, University of Sussex

Driven by the ever-increasing computational demands of the games industry graphical processing units (GPUs) have developed from simple co-processors to powerful compute platforms. Unlike modern CPUs that are still essentially using a sequential model of computing, GPUs are massively parallel with half a thousand cores on a single chip in modern graphics cards. With the introduction of the CUDA (common unified device architecture) application programming interface, NVIDIA, one of the leading GPU manufacturers, has made their GPUs accessible to general purpose computing applications. Given a suitable computational problem and an optimized parallel implementation, modern GPUs can achieve speed-ups of up to 50 to 100 times over a classical CPU core of a recent CPU.