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Accelerating the Rate of Astronomical Discovery with GPU-Powered Clusters

Christopher J. Fluke
Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia
arXiv:1111.5081v1 [astro-ph.IM] (22 Nov 2011)

@article{2011arXiv1111.5081F,

   author={Fluke}, C.~J.},

   title={"{Accelerating the Rate of Astronomical Discovery with GPU-Powered Clusters}"},

   journal={ArXiv e-prints},

   archivePrefix={"arXiv"},

   eprint={1111.5081},

   primaryClass={"astro-ph.IM"},

   keywords={Astrophysics – Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics},

   year={2011},

   month={nov},

   adsurl={http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2011arXiv1111.5081F},

   adsnote={Provided by the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System}

}

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In recent years, the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) has emerged as a low-cost alternative for high performance computing, enabling impressive speed-ups for a range of scientific computing applications. Early adopters in astronomy are already benefiting in adapting their codes to take advantage of the GPU’s massively parallel processing paradigm. I give an introduction to, and overview of, the use of GPUs in astronomy to date, highlighting the adoption and application trends from the first ~100 GPU-related publications in astronomy. I discuss the opportunities and challenges of utilising GPU computing clusters, such as the new Australian GPU supercomputer, gSTAR, for accelerating the rate of astronomical discovery.
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