Using GPUs to Improve Multigrid Solver Performance on a Cluster

November 15th, 2007

This article by Göddeke et al. explores the coupling of coarse and fine-grained parallelism for Finite Element simulations based on efficient parallel multigrid solvers. The focus lies on both system performance and a minimally invasive integration of hardware acceleration into an existing software package, requiring no changes to application code. Because of their excellent price performance ratio, we demonstrate the viability of our approach by using commodity graphics processors (GPUs) as efficient multigrid preconditioners. We address the issue of limited precision on GPUs by applying a mixed precision, iterative refinement technique. Other restrictions are also handled by a close interplay between the GPU and CPU. From a software perspective, we integrate the GPU solvers into the existing MPI-based Finite Element package by implementing the same interfaces as the CPU solvers, so that for the application programmer they are easily interchangeable. Our results show that we do not compromise any software functionality and gain speedups of two and more for large problems. Equipped with this additional option of hardware acceleration we compare different choices in increasing the performance of a conventional, commodity based cluster by increasing the number of nodes, replacement of nodes by a newer technology generation, and adding powerful graphics cards to the existing nodes. (Dominik Göddeke, Robert Strzodka, Jamaludin Mohd-Yusof, Patrick McCormick, Hilmar Wobker, Christian Becker and Stefan Turek. Using GPUs to Improve Multigrid Solver Performance on a Cluster. Accepted for publication in the International Journal of Computational Science and Engineering.)

AMD announces GPU with Double Precision Floating Point

November 14th, 2007

AMD has announced the AMD FireStream 9170 Stream Processor and an accompanying Software Development Kit (SDK) designed to harness the massive parallel processing power of the graphics processing unit (GPU). The AMD FireStream 9170 will support double-precision floating point technology tailored for scientific and engineering calculations. The AMD FireStream SDK is designed to deliver the tools developers need to create and optimize applications on AMD Stream processors. Built using an open platforms approach, the AMD FireStream SDK allows developers to access key Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and specifications, enabling performance tuning at the lowest level and development of third party tools. Building on AMD’s Close to the Metal (CTM) interface introduced in 2006, the Compute Abstraction Layer (CAL) provides low-level access to the GPU for development and performance tuning along with forward compatibility to future GPUs. For high-level development, AMD is announcing Brook+, a tool providing C extensions for stream computing based on the Brook project from Stanford University. In addition, AMD also plans to support the AMD Core Math Library (ACML) to provide GPU-accelerated math functions, and the COBRA video library accelerates video transcode. Also available are third-party tools from top industry partners including RapidMind and Microsoft. (Press Release)

CUDA Data-Parallel Primitives Library Released

November 5th, 2007

CUDPP is the CUDA Data Parallel Primitives Library for NVIDIA CUDA. CUDPP is a library of data-parallel algorithm primitives such as parallel-prefix-sum (“scan”), parallel sort and parallel reduction. Primitives such as these are important building blocks for a wide variety of data-parallel algorithms, including sorting, stream compaction, and building data structures such as trees and summed-area tables. The first beta release of CUDPP is now available, as is the searchable online documentation.

The CIGPU-2008 special session on computational intelligence using consumer games and graphics hardware

November 5th, 2007

The CIGPU-2008 special session on computational intelligence using consumer games and graphics hardware invites submissions of novel scientific and engineering applications of GPUs. Papers submitted for special sessions will be peer-reviewed with the same criteria used for the contributed papers. Submission deadline is 7 January 2008. (WCCI-2008 Special Session Computational Intelligence on Consumer Games and Graphics Hardware CIGPU-2008)

Intel Ct Tera-Scale White paper

November 5th, 2007

From the introduction: “Processors architecture is evolving towards more software-exposed parallelism through two features: more cores and wider SIMD ISA. At the same time, graphics processors (GPUs) are gradually adding more general purpose programming features. Several software development challenges arise from these trends. First, how do we mitigate the increased software development complexity that comes with exposing parallelism to the developer? Second, how do we provide portability across (increasing) core counts and SIMD ISA? Ct is a deterministic parallel programming model intended to leverage the best features of emerging general-purpose GPU (GPGPU) programming models while fully exploiting CPU flexibility. A key distinction of Ct is that it comprises a top-down design of a complete data parallel programming model, rather than being driven bottomup by architectural limitations, a flaw in many GPGPU programming models.” (Flexible Parallel Programming for Terascale Architectures with Ct)

Toward Acceleration of RSA Using 3D Graphics Hardware

November 5th, 2007

This paper by Moss et. al shows an implementation of multi-precision arithmetic running on a 7800-GTX. The paper shows how to compute the modular exponentiation of large integers (a central operation in the RSA cryptosystem) using the restricted control flow available on a DX9 card. Both the background number theory used to express the problem in a suitable way for a streaming architecture, and the program transformation techniques used to generate the GLSL code are described in detail. Surprisingly (given the unusual nature of the problem for GPGPU) the GPU is capable of out-performing the CPU over a large enough dataset by a factor of 2x-3x depending on the CPU implementation. Unfortunately the immature state of the GLSL compiler prevents a further 2x improvement by allocating too many registers, and the large latency for setting the problem up means that over 800 exponentiations need to be performed to break-even against the CPU. (Andrew Moss, Dan Page and Nigel Smart. Toward Acceleration of RSA Using 3D Graphics Hardware. In: LNCS 4887, pages 369–388. Springer, December 2007.)

Graphics-based Acoustic Simulations

November 5th, 2007

Physically correct acoustic simulations for complex and dynamic environments remain a difficult and computationally extensive task. Graphics hardware is here used for the simulation of sound wave propagation. Two different methods have been implemented, of which one uses ray tracing techniques, while the other is based on difference equations and waveguide meshes. Both techniques can efficiently be implemented within a real-time environment by concentrating on the similarities for sound and light wave propagation, and by exploiting the possibilities of using graphics hardware for non-graphics computations. Applications are discussed for real-time room acoustics, virtual reality as well as for virtual HRIR measurements based on polygonal meshes.

(Ray Acoustics using Computer Graphics Technology. Niklas Röber, Ulrich Kaminski, and Maic Masuch. Proceedings of DAFx 2007.)
(Waveguide-based Room Acoustics through Graphics Hardware. Niklas Röber, Martin Spindler, and Maic Masuch. Proceedings of ICMC 2006.)

GPGPU Workshop October 4th

September 18th, 2007

The Workshop on General Purpose Processing on Graphics Processing Units will be held October 4, 2007 at Northeastern University, Boston, MA. This meeting will include a keynote talk by Prof. Wen-mei Hwu on “GP Computing: Hardware, Architecture Tools and Education”.

The program will include three invited talks from NVIDIA, ATI and IBM Research, and will include demos by GPU hardware and software vendors. The technical program will include 12 refereed papers. Registration is free, though you need to register for The Workshop on GPGPU at:

Commercial companies that are interested in presenting at The Workshop on GPGPU, please contact the organizing committee at

NVIDIA and Addison-Wesley Release GPU Gems 3 Book

September 10th, 2007

GPU Gems 3, the third volume of the best-selling GPU Gems series provides a snapshot of today’s latest Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) programming techniques. The programmability of modern GPUs allows developers to not only distinguish themselves from one another but also to use this awesome processing power for non-graphics applications, such as physics simulation, financial analysis, and even virus detection—particularly with the CUDA architecture. Graphics remains the leading application for GPUs, and readers will find that the latest algorithms create ultra-realistic characters, better lighting, and post-rendering compositing effects. This third volume is certain to appeal to not just the many fans of the first two, but a whole new group of programmers as well. (GPU Gems 3 Page at Addison-Wesley)

Genome Technology Article about GPGPU: “Not Just for Kids Anymore”

September 10th, 2007

This article at Genome Technology gives a brief overview of GPGPU, with a focus on biological information processing using NVIDIA CUDA Technology. The article discusses the results from UIUC’s NAMD / VMD project and neurological simulation company Evolved Machines.

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