12 Year Old Learns to Program NVIDIA GPUs to Build Killer Minecraft Server

Never underestimate the passion of a programmer and true geek at heart. That's the lesson to take away from today's story of little Julia, a 12-year-old girl who plays on her school's basketball and volleyball teams, is into swimming, and who recently spent an hour learning the fundamentals of CUDA programming at the Supercomputing 13 conference in Denver, Colorado.

That's right, not all teens are simply content to sit back and play console games in their living rooms or tap away at their tablets as they fling pissed off birds across the display at thieving little pigs. Programming is alive and well, and people like Julia are proof positive of that. Once an aspiring architect, Julia now wants to be a computer programmer. Towards that end, she wants to build the ultimate Minecraft server using NVIDIA's Tesla GPUs.

"It was really fun," Julia told NVIDIA during a recent phone call. "It was one of my first programming classes, I actually did okay at it."

CUDA Programming Session

Obviously NVIDIA has a vested interest in these kinds of feel-good stories that feature the company's CUDA parallel programming platform, hence why the GPU maker dedicated a blog post to, but it doesn't detract from the level of awesome here. Would Julia be as into programming had NVIDIA not made its CUDA tool kit available to the public? It's hard to tell, but it's also a moot point because it is available, and it's been downloaded by 2 million people. Over 18,000 professionals brag about knowing CUDA on their LinkedIn profiles.

There's also a family element to this story. Julia's been bitten by the programming bug, and now that she has it, she's started working with her dad, John Ashely, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Colorado in Boulder, to create code that will accelerate the open-source code that powers the servers used to host Minecraft, NVIDIA says.

"It’s really addicting. It teaches you about architecture, about gravity, about a lot of things," Julia says about Minecraft.