GPU Implementation of the Particle Filter

Joakim Gebart
Department of Electrical Engineering, Linkopings universitet, SE-581 83 Linkoping, Sweden
Linkopings universitet, 2013


   title={GPU Implementation of the Particle Filter},

   author={Gebart, Joakim},



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This thesis work analyses the obstacles faced when adapting the particle filtering algorithm to run on massively parallel compute architectures. Graphics processing units are one example of massively parallel compute architectures which allow for the developer to distribute computational load over hundreds or thousands of processor cores. This thesis studies an implementation written for NVIDIA GeForce GPUs, yielding varying speed ups, up to 3000% in some cases, when compared to the equivalent algorithm performed on CPU. The particle filter, also known in the literature as sequential Monte-Carlo methods, is an algorithm used for signal processing when the system generating the signals has a highly nonlinear behaviour or non-Gaussian noise distributions where a Kalman filter and its extended variants are not effective. The particle filter was chosen as a good candidate for parallelisation because of its inherently parallel nature. There are, however, several steps of the classic formulation where computations are dependent on other computations in the same step which requires them to be run in sequence instead of in parallel. To avoid these difficulties alternative ways of computing the results must be used, such as parallel scan operations and scatter/gather methods. Another area where parallel programming still is not widespread is the area of pseudo-random number generation. Pseudo-random numbers are required by the algorithm to simulate the process noise as well as for avoiding the particle depletion problem using a resampling step. In this thesis a recently published counter-based pseudo-random number generator is used.
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