Items tagged with GPGPU

For years, we've heard rumors that Intel was building custom chips for Google or Facebook, but these deals have always been assumed to work with standard hardware. Intel might offer a different product SKU with non-standard core counts, or a specific TDP target, or a particular amount of cache -- but at the end of the day, these were standard Xeon processors. Today, it looks like that's changing for the first time -- Intel is going to start embedding custom FPGAs into its own CPU silicon. The new FPGA-equipped Xeons will occupy precisely the same socket and platform as the standard, non-FPGA Xeons. Nothing will change on the customer front (BIOS updates may be required), but the chips should... Read more...
The supercomputing conference SC13 kicks off this week, which means we'll be seeing a great deal of information related to multiple initiatives and launches from all the major players in High Performance Computing (HPC). Nvidia is kicking off their own event with the launch of a new GPU and a strategic partnership with IBM. For those of you that follow the consumer market, the GPU is going to look fairly familiar. K40 -- GK110 Goes Full Fat Just as the GTX 780 Ti was the full consumer implementation of the GK110 GPU, the new K40 Tesla card is the supercomputing / HPC variant of the same core architecture. The K40 picks up additional clock headroom and implements the same variable clock speed... Read more...
One of the greatest problems standing between companies like AMD and widespread adoption of the GPU as a mainstream accelerator is that it's extremely difficult to effectively leverage the GPU. Even after years of development poured into CUDA, OpenCL, and yes, HSA, the barriers between CPU and GPU have remained substantial. The reason why is simple, at a high level. The CPU was always designed as the Central Processing Unit. As years past, and more and more applications that were previously handled by specialized accelerators moved to the CPU, there was less and less need to treat any other processor in the system as a partner. AMD's Heterogeneous System Architecture aims to reverse this, but... Read more...
To meet the needs of GP-GPU computing (General-Purpose computation on Graphics Processing Units) for environments where space is at a premium or a unit needs to be easily transportable, NextComputing has rolled out the Nucleus GP. Crammed into a mini-tower case (17.37” H x 16.75” W x 5.80” D), the “personal supercomputer” supports up to three dual-wide PCI Express 2.0 x16 GPUs, 4- or 6-core Intel Xeon or Core i7 processors, up to 24GB DDR3-1333MHz memory, and as many as 14 2.5-inch SATA or SAS drives. Options available with the Nucleus GP include a rolling case with wheels and telescoping handle, a rugged hard case, and a wireless keyboard with an integrated trackball.... Read more...
At its Fusion Development Summit this week, AMD discussed the concepts and capabilities it's targeting for future generations of AMD graphics cards. The company isn't sharing any specific architectural features, but even the general information it handed out is interesting. Demers began by talking about the history of ATI's graphics card and the evolution of the company's GPU design. When ATI originally designed its DX9 hardware, it designed its vertex shaders to use a VLIW5 (Very Long Instruction Word) implementation. Back in such halcyon days of yore, Nvidia's programmable G80 was scarcely a twinkle in David Kirk's eye. Pixel and vertex shaders were two different animals. ATI's VLIW5 approach... Read more...
Larrabee, Intel's once-vaunted, next-generation graphics card died years ago, but the CPU technology behind the would-be graphics card has lived on. Intel discussed the future of MIC/Knight's Corner today. After Larrabee was officially canceled, Intel repurposed the design and seeded development kits to appropriate market segments. MIC cards won't start shipping until the 22nm Knight's Corner chip is launched, but even the Knight's Ferry prototypes offer tantalizing hints at what future performance might be resemble. Like Larrabee, Knight's Corner (and future MIC products in general) utilize a CPU based on Intel's original Pentium architecture (P54C). Modifications include complete cache coherency,... Read more...
The second day of the AMD Fusion Developer Summit began with a keynote from Microsoft’s Herb Sutter, Principal Architect, Native Languages and resident C++ guru. The gist of Herb’s talk centered around heterogeneous computing and the changes coming with future versions of Visual Studio and C++. One of the main highlights of the talk was a demo of a C++ AMP application that seamlessly took advantage of all of the compute resources within a few of the various demo systems, from workstations to netbooks.  The application seamlessly switched from using CPU, integrated GPU, and discrete GPU resources, showcasing the performance capabilities of each. Heterogeneous computing capabilities... Read more...
AMD's GPU solutions have come a long way since the company acquired ATI. The combined companies have competed very well against Nvidia for the past several years, at least at the consumer level. When it comes to HPC/GPGPU tools, however, Nvidia has had the market all to itself. Granted, the GPGPU market hasn't exactly exploded, but Nvidia has sunk a great deal of effort into developing PhysX and CUDA. AMD has announced a new suite of programming tools it plans to use to woo developers in the burgeoning field. "AMD is working closely with the developer community to make it easier to bring the benefits of heterogeneous computing to consumers, enabling next-generation system features like vivid... Read more...
Heather Mackey of Nvdia has written a new blog post discussing the company's hardware emulation equipment, thus affording us an opportunity to discuss a little-mentioned aspect of microprocessor development.  Although we'll be discussing Nvidia products in particular, both software tools (aka, simulation) and hardware emulation are vital to all microprocessor design firms, including Intel, AMD, Via/Centaur, and ARM. There's a significant difference between software simulation and hardware emulation. In simulation, software tools are used to simulate the logic of a new design or product respin. The advantage to simulation is that most such tools are mature, flexible, and inexpensive. The... Read more...
Yesterday, at the Embedded Systems Conference, AMD announced a new embedded Radeon GPU, the E6760. Unlike its previous offerings in this segment, the E6760 is capable of driving up to six displays and supports OpenCL. "The AMD Radeon E6760 GPU provides customers with superior business economics through long lifecycle management and product stability,” said Richard Jaenicke, director of Embedded Client Business for AMD. “Embedded system designers faced with power and density constraints now have a solution that delivers the advanced 3D graphics and multimedia features they require in this performance-driven market. The embedded systems market is enormous; it encompasses ATMs, arcade/3D... Read more...
Much of the talk about AMD products has centered around Bulldozer of late, but Llano is on track for launch this year as well. AMD has released a new video pitting Llano against Intel's Sandy Bridge, with results that (un)surprisingly favor AMD's own solution. According to Godfrey Cheng, AMD's director of Client Technology, Llano was designed on the following hypothesis:  "People are using more modern workloads like 3D graphics, HD video and Internet surfing in a much more prevalent manner...we all dabble with spreadsheets and word processing...but any modern x86 CPU-based PC can handle these workloads with ease.  But with these modern applications, the capacity to multitask, improve... Read more...
New CUDA 4.0 Release Makes Parallel Programming Easier Unified Virtual Addressing, GPU-to-GPU Communication and Enhanced C++ Template Libraries Enable More Developers to Take Advantage of GPU Computing SANTA CLARA, Calif -- Feb. 28, 2011 -- NVIDIA today announced the latest version of the NVIDIA CUDA Toolkit for developing parallel applications using NVIDIA GPUs. The NVIDIA CUDA 4.0 Toolkit was designed to make parallel programming easier, and enable more developers to port their applications to GPUs. This has resulted in three main features: NVIDIA GPUDirect 2.0 Technology – Offers support for peer-to-peer communication among GPUs within a single server or workstation. This enables... Read more...
Six months ago, we covered a story in which Nvidia's chief scientist, Bill Dally, made a number of sweeping claims regarding the superiority of GPUs. Six months later he's again attacking traditional microprocessors with another broad series of accusations. As before, in our opinion, he uses far too broad a brush. Dally's basic claim is that modern CPUs are held back by legacy design. That's not particularly controversial, but he doesn't stop there. Referring to modern CPUs, Dally says:They have branch predictors that predict a branch every cycle whether the program branches or not -- that burns gobs of power. They reorder instructions to hide memory latency. That burns a lot of power. They carry... Read more...
If you're a fan of GPGPU computing this is turning out to be an interesting week. At SC10 in New Orleans, Intel has been demoing and discussing its Knights Ferry development platform. Knights Ferry, which Intel refers to as a MIC (Many Integrated Core) platform, is the phoenix rising rising from the ashes of Larrabee. Future MIC products (Knights Ferry is a development prototype, the first commercial product will be called Knights Corner) will mesh x86 compatibility with a level of parallelism typically found only in cluster nodes. Intel's Knights Ferry Knights Ferry contains 32 indepedent x86 cores with quad HyperThreading, fits into a PCIe 2.0 slot, and offers up to 2GB of DDR5 memory per card.... Read more...
For the past 3.5 years or so, NVIDIA has ardently advocated the GPU as a computational platform capable of solving almost any problem. One topic the company hasn't targeted, however, is the tremendous performance advantage the GPU could offer malware authors. The idea that a graphics card could double as a security hole isn't something we've heard before, but according to a paper by Giorgos Vasiliadis, Michalis Polychronakis and Sotiris Ionnidis, it's an attack vector whose popularity could boom in coming years. The trio argues that all the computational hardware that makes the GPU such an ideal fit for certain types of scientific or graphical workloads could (and will) deliver equal benefits... Read more...
At the time of this writing, the FTC's investigation into Intel's alleged monopolistic abuses is on hold as the government attempts to negotiate a settlement with the CPU and chipset manufacturer. If these negotiations don't result in a deal by July 22, the case returns to court, with arguments currently scheduled to begin on September 15. Intel is no stranger to these sorts of lawsuits; between AMD and the EU, the CPU giant has been battling such allegations for years. The lawsuit between NV and Intel, however, rests on different points than the AMD/Intel allegations. Here, the battle is over whether or not Intel's already-negotiated agreements with NVIDIA give the latter permission to produce... Read more...
Earlier this week, we covered news that a California PS3 owner, Anthony Ventura, had filed a class action lawsuit against Sony, alleging that the company's decision to terminate the PS3's Linux support via firmware update constituted a false/deceptive marketing practice. While most PS3 owners never took advantage of the system's Linux capabilities, "Other OS" functionality is critical to the universities and institutions that have deployed PS3 clusters as high-performance compute farms. We talked with several project leads on the impact of Sony's decision, and what it means for low-cost supercomputing programs. Blunderingly, Sony Nukes PS3 Supercomputing... Read more...
Earlier this week, we covered news that a California PS3 owner, Anthony Ventura, had filed a class action lawsuit against Sony, alleging that the company's decision to terminate the PS3's Linux support via firmware update constituted a false/deceptive marketing practice.While most PS3 owners never took advantage of the system's Linux capabilities, "Other OS" functionality is critical to the universities and institutions that have deployed PS3 clusters as high-performance compute farms. We talked with several project leads on the impact of Sony's decision, and what it means for low-cost supercomputing programs. Cluster of PS3s, U.S.A.F. 2,000 Console SupercomputerImage courtesy: U.S. Air ForceIn... Read more...
Bill Dally, chief scientist at NVIDIA, has written an article at Forbes alleging that traditional CPU scaling and Moore's Law are dead, and that parallel computing is the only way to maintain historic performance scaling. With six-core processors now available for $300, Dally's remarks are certainly timely, but his conclusions are a bit premature. Will The Real Moore's Law Please Stand Up And/Or Die Already? Moore's original representation of his now-famous law.Dally's claims Moore's Law is dead because "CPU performance no longer doubles every 18 months." This is little more than a straw man; Moore's Law states that the number of transistors that could be built within a chip for minimal... Read more...
When Intel announced its plans to develop a discrete graphics card capable of scaling from the consumer market to high-end GPGPU calculations,  it was met with a mixture of scorn, disbelief, interest, and curiosity. Unlike the GPUs at SIGGRAPH in 2008 (or any of the current ones, for that matter), Larrabee was a series of in-order x86 cores connected by a high-bandwidth bus. In theory, Larrabee would be more flexible than any GPU from ATI or NVIDIA; Intel predicted its new GPU would begin an industry transition from rasterization to real-time raytracing (RTRT). Larrabee's original GPU core. A bit of CPU here, a dash of GPU there...Larrabee parts were supposed to ship in 2010, but last December... Read more...
When it comes to hardware-accelerated PhysX and the future of GPGPU computing AMD and NVIDIA are the modern-day descendents of the Hatfields and McCoys. Both companies attended GDC last week, where a completely predictable war broke out over PhysX, physics, developer payoffs, and gamer interest in PhysX (or the lack thereof). The brouhaha kicked off with comments from the senior manager of developer relations at AMD, Richard Huddy, who said: "What I’ve seen with physics, or PhysX rather, is that Nvidia create a marketing deal with a title, and then as part of that marketing deal, they have the right to go in and implement PhysX in the game...I’m not aware of any GPU-accelerated PhysX code which... Read more...
Back in late September of last year, NVIDIA disclosed some information regarding its next generation GPU architecture, codenamed "Fermi". At the time, actual product names and detailed specifications were not disclosed, nor was performance in 3D games, but high-level information about the architecture, its strong focus on compute performance, and broader compatibility with computational applications were discussed. We covered much of the early information regarding Fermi in this article. Just to recap some of the more pertinent details found there, the GPU codenamed Fermi will feature over 3 billion transistors and be produced using TSMC's 40nm processes. If you remember, AMD's RV870, which is... Read more...
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