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CCS Seminar
Ronald Babich, Postdoctoral Associate
Boston University - Center for Computational Science
Friday - December 3, 2010
12:00 noon
Physics Research Building - Room 595

From "Crysis" to Quarks: The Rise of GPUs in Scientific Computing

Over the past few years, the use of graphics processing units (GPUs) has exploded from a niche research topic into the mainstream of scientific computing. This is reflected in the most recent "Top 500" list of supercomputers, where three of the top four machines derive their power from GPUs. The availability of hardware has largely outpaced progress in software, however, presenting an enormous opportunity for enterprising computational scientists in the wide variety of application areas where GPUs might be suitable.

After briefly introducing GPU architecture and programming models, I will present a case study in one such application area: lattice quantum chromodynamics (lattice QCD). QCD is the fundamental theory that describes the interactions of quarks and gluons. In the lattice formulation, the equations governing these interactions are solved on a four-dimensional space-time grid. I will describe the implementation of a successful lattice QCD code that achieves high performance on a single GPU and can scale to use tens of GPUs in parallel, highlighting a few of the strategies employed and challenges faced along the way.




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