Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
GPU Computing: Past, Present, and Future
Dr. David Luebke
Director of Research, NVIDIA Corporation
1:00-2:15pm Friday, 4 February 2011, ITE 227
Modern GPUs have outgrown their graphics heritage in many ways to emerge as the world's most successful parallel computing architecture. The GPUs that consumers buy to play video games provide a level of massively parallel computation in a single chip that was once the preserve of supercomputers. The raw computational horsepower of these chips has expanded their reach well beyond graphics. Today's GPUs not only render video game frames, they also accelerate astrophysics, video transcoding, image processing, protein folding, seismic exploration, computational finance, radioastronomy, heart surgery, self-driving cars – the list goes on and on.
When thinking about the future of GPUs it is important to reflect on the past. How did this peripheral grow into a processing powerhouse found everywhere from medical clinics to radiotelescopes to supercomputers? Why the graphics card and not the modem, or the mouse? Have GPUs really outgrown graphics and will they thus evolve into pure HPC processors? (hint: no)
This talk is intended as a sort of "state of the union" for GPU computing. I'll briefly cover the dual heritage of GPUs, both in terms of supercomputing and the evolution of fixed function graphics pipelines. I'll discuss "computational graphics", the evolution of graphics itself into a general-purpose computational problem, and how that impacts GPU design and GPU computing. Finally I'll describe the important problems and research topics facing GPU computing practitioners and researchers.
David Luebke helped found NVIDIA Research in 2006 after eight years on the faculty of the University of Virginia. Luebke received his Ph.D. under Fred Brooks at the University of North Carolina in 1998. His principal research interests are GPU computing and real-time computer graphics. Luebke's honors include the NVIDIA Distinguished Inventor award, the NSF CAREER and DOE Early Career PI awards, and the ACM Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics "Test of Time Award". Dr. Luebke has co-authored a book, a SIGGRAPH Electronic Theater piece, a major museum exhibit visited by over 110,000 people, and dozens of papers, articles, chapters, and patents.