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N-Body Simulations on GPUs

Erich Elsen, V. Vishal, Mike Houston, Vijay Pande, Pat Hanrahan, Eric Darve
Stanford University
arXiv:0706.3060v1 [cs.CE] (20 Jun 2007)

@article{elsen2006n,

   title={N-body simulations on GPUs},

   author={Elsen, E. and Vishal, V. and Houston, M. and Pande, V. and Hanrahan, P. and Darve, E.},

   journal={Proceedings of ACM/IEEE �nference on Supercomputing},

   year={2006}

}

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Commercial graphics processors (GPUs) have high compute capacity at very low cost, which makes them attractive for general purpose scientific computing. In this paper we show how graphics processors can be used for N-body simulations to obtain improvements in performance over current generation CPUs. We have developed a highly optimized algorithm for performing the O(N^2) force calculations that constitute the major part of stellar and molecular dynamics simulations. In some of the calculations, we achieve sustained performance of nearly 100 GFlops on an ATI X1900XTX. The performance on GPUs is comparable to specialized processors such as GRAPE-6A and MDGRAPE-3, but at a fraction of the cost. Furthermore, the wide availability of GPUs has significant implications for cluster computing and distributed computing efforts like Folding@Home.
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