Hierarchical Agglomerative Clustering Using Graphics Processor with Compute Unified Device Architecture

S. A. Arul Shalom, Manoranjan Dash, Minh Tue, Nithin Wilson
School of Computational Engineering, Nanyang Technology University, Singapore, Singapore
International Conference on Signal Processing Systems, 2009, p.556-561


   title={Hierarchical Agglomerative Clustering Using Graphics Processor with Compute Unified Device Architecture},

   author={Shalom, S.A.A. and Dash, M. and Tue, M. and Wilson, N.},

   booktitle={2009 International Conference on Signal Processing Systems},





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We explore the use of today’s high-end Graphics processing units on desktops to perform hierarchical agglomerative clustering with the Compute Unified Device Architecture – CUDA of NVIDIA. Although the advancement in graphics cards has made the gaming industry to flourish,there is a lot more to be gained the field of scientific computing, high performance computing and their applications. Previous works have illustrated considerable speed gains on computing pair wise Euclidean distances between vectors, which is the fundamental operation in hierarchical clustering. We have used CUDA to implement the complete hierarchical agglomerative clustering algorithm and show almost double the speed gain using much cheaper desk top graphics card. In this paper we briefly explain the highly parallel and internally distributed programming structure of CUDA. We explore CUDA capabilities and propose methods to efficiently handle data within the graphics hardware for data intense, data independent, iterative or repetitive general purpose algorithms such as the hierarchical clustering. We achieved results with speed gains of about 30 to 65 times over the CPU implementation using micro array gene expressions.
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