CUDA: What is it? Getting it done faster.

Posted: March 11, 2012 in INFR 2350
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CUDA is a part of NVIDIA’s parallel computing architecture. Similar to how SLI is NVIDIA’s parallel processing using two GPUs, CUDA helps to dramatically increase computer performance by using the power of the GPU in a system. It stands for Compute Unified Device Architecture.

How do computers process information traditionally?

Traditionally, computers are used to centrally processing on the CPU and GPU. CUDA approaches this approach differently with a new paradigm.

What does CUDA do differently?

CUDA lets developers make their applications more efficient through the access of virtual instruction sets and memory of the parallel computational elements in CUDA GPUs (only on NVIDIA cards). GPUs are already setup in a parallel architecture which allows the execution of several threads at once, versus one single thread at a time.

Data is copied from the main memory to the GPU’s memory. (System RAM to the card’s VRAM). The CPU sends instructions on the processing on the GPU. The GPU can then execute several instructions at the same time (parallel processing) on each core of the GPU. If you think of the CPU cores, they typically have 2-4 cores, while a GPU has hundreds of CUDA enabled cores. So this helps processing speed up dramatically. The results are then copied from the GPU memory back to the main memory where it is accessed.

File:CUDA processing flow (En).PNG

Diagram on the processing flow of CUDA processing. 

I’m sure plenty of other approaches are available to this “parallel processing”

Well, that may be true, but NVIDIA has succeeded in making parallel programming in applications easier. Through their available SDK is an entire toolkit for developers to use, to help them make their applications run faster. CUDA can use high-level languages directly!

CUDA is a part of the evolving world in optimizing computer systems to run faster and more efficiently. Cutting down the required time for applications to process information is helping the world’s applications solve more problems faster in gaming and real world problems (health industries). Let’s keep on finding new innovations for fast and better application handling!

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