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Using modern graphics architectures for general-purpose computing: a framework and analysis

Chris J. Thompson, Sahngyun Hahn, Mark Oskin
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington
In MICRO 35: Proceedings of the 35th annual ACM/IEEE international symposium on Microarchitecture (2002), pp. 306-317

@conference{thompson2002using,

   title={Using modern graphics architectures for general-purpose computing: A framework and analysis},

   author={Thompson, C.J. and Hahn, S. and Oskin, M.},

   booktitle={Proceedings of the 35th annual ACM/IEEE international symposium on Microarchitecture},

   pages={306–317},

   isbn={0769518591},

   year={2002},

   organization={IEEE Computer Society Press}

}

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Recently, graphics hardware architectures have begun to emphasize versatility, offering rich new ways to programmatically reconfigure the graphics pipeline. In this paper, we explore whether current graphics architectures can be applied to problems where general-purpose vector processors might traditionally be used. We develop a programming framework and apply it to a variety of problems, including matrix multiplication and 3-SAT. Comparing the speed of our graphics card implementations to standard CPU implementations, we demonstrate startling performance improvements in many cases, as well as room for improvement in others. We analyze the bottlenecks and propose minor extensions to current graphics architectures which would improve their effectiveness for solving general-purpose problems. Based on our results and current trends in microarchitecture, we believe that efficient use of graphics hardware will become increasingly important to high-performance computing on commodity hardware.
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