[Beowulf] A few words about NVidia and HPC

Douglas Eadline deadline at eadline.org
Mon Jun 16 17:40:56 EDT 2008

I visited NVidia last week for HPC editors day.
I am working on some write-ups, but let me make a few
general comments:

- NVidia is very serious about HPC. There is of course
  a limited amount of real estate on the die, so there
  are trade-offs as to video/HPC
- There will be double precision support across the
  product line (which is)
   * The GeForce is intended for entertainment market
   * The Tesla is intended for the HPC market and will
     use high grade memory for 24x7 HPC use, and support
     up to 4 GB of on-board RAM
   * The Quadro is for the high design/graphics market
- In the very short time Cuda has been available (about a year)
  there are some applications that have seen large improvements
  in performance (not all apps need double precision)
- Cuda provides an interesting abstraction layer which
  hides the dynamic thread execution hardware on the chip
- there is more, but then I would be writing an article.

Now, should you put your cluster on Ebay and buy video cards?
I have no idea. What I do know is the consumer market has provided
us with another interesting hardware platform for HPC
applications. Plus, the companies (Nvidia, and AMD/ATI) are
helping out as well.

Interesting times.


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