Hardware Acceleration for Spatial Database Operations

July 19th, 2004

These works from the Database Systems Lab at UC Santa Barbara describe how a graphics processor can be effectively used to accelerate the performance of spatial database (GIS databases) operations. Spatial database operations, especially which involve polygon datasets, have been known to be computationally expensive. Sun et al. describe a novel hardware / software co-processing technique which uses basic features of a GPU to reduce the spatial query processing cost. Experimental evaluation shows that their hardware-based approach can significantly outperform leading software-based techniques. (Hardware Acceleration for Spatial Selections and Joins Chengyu Sun, Divyakant Agrawal, Amr El Abbadi. Proceedings of SIGMOD 2003.) However, this evaluation is done in a stand-alone setting where there are no indices, preprocessing or other optimizations available in a database. Bandi et al. extend Sun et al.’s work and integrate the hardware-based technique into a popular commercial database. Rigorous experimentation over real-life data sets shows that the hardware-based approach is very effective and can be complimentary to the optimizations available in a commercial database setting. (Hardware Acceleration in Commercial Databases: A Case Study of Spatial Operations Nagender Bandi, Chengyu Sun, Divyakant Agrawal, Amr El Abbadi to appear in VLDB 2004.)