Last month a white paper from Microsoft Research unveiled a new API which simplifies programming of graphics processing units (GPU) for general-purpose computing. GPUs have already been deployed as computational devices in oil and gas software prototypes from SMT (reservoir simulation) and Finetooth (seismic data compression).
Designed for graphics display, GPUs are powerful, but hard to program for general-purpose use. Microsoft Accelerator provides a high-level interface to translate data parallel operations on-the-fly to optimized GPU pixel shader code and API calls. Accelerator compiled code is typically within 50% of hand-written pixel shader code and up to 18 times faster than C code running on a CPU.
This article originally appeared in Oil IT Journal 2006 Issue # 1.
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