GPGPU: A Stream Computing Story: Page 2


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AMD FirestreamAll of this computational power isn't lost on two of the largest graphics chip designers. AMD and Nvidia have begun marketing their very own line of purpose-built stream processors dedicated to data crunching.

The GPGPU's performance isn't lost on Intel either so they've been hard at work on their Larrabee GPU which is taking a completely different approach to graphics and processing elements and will also be, conveniently, targeted toward the GPGPU market. Knowing that Intel doesn't go into an arena half-heartedly, we're all sure to see a blitz of solutions at various price points with a top-notch development environment.

Which brings the first major flaw in this burgeoning field: a lack of a standard.

Each hardware platform is sure to have its own specialized software to ensure code is running as efficiently as possible, which would make portability a no-go. It's a question of whether it will stay a highly specialized field or if we'll see a broader market for this form of processing power and whether the major players will make concessions to see this move forward.

Nvidia Tesla

Pushing pixels and boundaries

For now, it all smells of the "fresh out of the R&D" and "not yet ready for prime time" routine, which is true with most new technologies. However, a few industries have been taking up the cause and have benefited from the horsepower in some remarkable ways. Plus, the academics and military are having a field day with their own pet projects.

You won't be finding a ready-made solution you can deploy immediately on the market yet and there's still serious research to be done. Plenty of major hardware revisions are also required before it becomes a ubiquitous computing platform, but the major players are fully backing this approach.

Nonetheless, there is plenty of interest in making stream processing work with early results showing significant gains. So expect the developments to come fast and furious.

This article was first published on EnterpriseITPlanet.com.

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