Nvidia Corp., a leading developer of graphics processing units (GPUs), on Monday said that it had developed several GPGPU (general-purpose computing on GPU) applications compatible with Microsoft Windows HPC Server 2008 operating system. This is the first time when a major GPU developer officially supports Windows HPC Server 2008 with its dedicated GPGPU platform.
Nvidia Research developed several GPU-enabled applications on the Windows HPC Server 2008 platform, such as a ray tracing application that can be used for advanced photo-realistic modeling of automobiles. Related to this, Nvidia worked with Microsoft Research to install a large Tesla GPU computing cluster and is studying applications that are optimized for the GPU.
In addition, a whole range of enterprise applications, such as data mining, machine learning and business intelligence, as well as scientific applications like molecular dynamics, financial computing and seismic processing, can take advantage of massively threaded processing on GPUs.
“The coupling of GPUs and CPUs illustrates the enormous power and opportunity of multicore co-processing. Nvidia’s work with Microsoft and the Windows HPC Server platform, is helping enable scientists and researchers in many fields achieve supercomputer performance on diverse applications,” said Dan Reed, corporate vice president of extreme computing at Microsoft
Nvidia Tesla high-performance GPU computing products support Windows XP and Windows Vista in the workstation and Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 in the data center. Tesla C1060 and S1070 GPU computing products are available from most major system vendors including Cray, Dell, HP and Lenovo.
Graphics processors are much more efficient than traditional central processing units when it comes to processing of highly-parallel workloads. Nvidia claims that scientific community was one of the first to realize the potential of the GPU to transform its work, observing speedups ranging from 20 to 200 times while using a range of compute-intensive applications. However, GPGPU is still used relatively rarely due to rather poor software support. With support of Windows HPC Server 2008, Nvidia brings mass adoption of GPGPU technologies a step closer.
“The combination of GPUs and the Windows platform has been a great benefit to our VMD (Visual Molecular Dynamics) user community, bringing advanced molecular visualization and analysis capabilities to thousands of users. As we move toward even larger biomolecular structures, GPUs will become increasingly important as they bring even more computational power to bear on what will be highly parallelizable computational problems,” said John Stone, senior research programmer at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.