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 Software tool helps tap into the power of graphics processing

This story is from the category Computing Power
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Date posted: 23/05/2010

Today's computers rely on powerful graphics processing units (GPUs) to create the spectacular graphics in video games. In fact, these GPUs are now more powerful than the traditional central processing units (CPUs) - or brains of the computer. As a result, computer developers are trying to tap into the power of these GPUs. Now a research team from North Carolina State University has developed software that could make it easier for traditional software programs to take advantage of the powerful GPUs, essentially increasing complex computing brainpower

Taking advantage of a GPU's processing ability is a big deal, because of the amount of computing power a GPU contains. The CPU from an average computer has about 10 gigaflops of computing power - or 10 billion operations per second. That sounds like a lot until you consider that the GPU from an average modern computer has 1 teraflop of computing power - which is 1 trillion operations per second.

But using a GPU for general computing functions isn't easy. The actual architecture of the GPU itself is designed to process graphics, not other applications. Because GPUs focus on turning data into millions of pixels on a screen, the architecture is designed to have many operations taking place in isolation from each other. The operation telling one pixel what to do is separate from the operations telling other pixels what to do. This hardware design makes graphics processing more efficient, but presents a stumbling block for those who want to use GPUs for more complex computing processes.

A research team from NC state has developed software that could make it easier for traditional software programs to take advantage of GPUs. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

See the full Story via external site: www.physorg.com

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