State of the art

Paul Koning pkoning at
Fri Sep 23 08:30:58 CDT 2005

>>>>> "Chuck" == Chuck Guzis <cclist at> writes:

 Chuck> I was catching up on my reading and came across an interesting
 Chuck> article in the September 2005 IEEE Computer Society "Computer"
 Chuck> magazine.  The gist of the particular article was that the
 Chuck> graphics processors on many high-end PC video cards are
 Chuck> overlooked for applications requiring heavy number-crunching.
 Chuck> What caught my eye was the chart that illustrated that the
 Chuck> Nvidia G70 graphics processor now performs at about 170
 Chuck> GFlops!  (A dual-core Pentium 4 running at 3 GHz, by contrast,
 Chuck> will do about 20 GFlops).

20 GFlops with a 3 GHz processor?  How can that be -- that would
require 3 FP functional units per core, each issuing one instruction
per clock cycle.  Did you mean 2 GFlops?

 Chuck> Granted, this is 32-bit vector floating point arithmetic, but
 Chuck> the raw numbers are pretty stunning.

Sure is.

There may be as many as three processors tucked away in your PC that
are more powerful (though more narrowly focused) than the main
processor.  The graphics engine is one -- the other two are the
digital signal processing engines in the disk read channel and (if you
have one) the Gigabit Ethernet interface.

There's a group somewhere (can't remember the name or URL) working on
developing parallel processing algorithms that run on your graphics
card -- essentially treating it as a vector coprocessor for your PC.


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