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Nvidia launches CUDA 5

Nvidia launches CUDA 5

Nvidia's CUDA 5 promises improved performance, easier coding and a new resource centre for those looking to accelerate highly-parallel tasks.

Nvidia has officially released CUDA 5, upgrading its parallel processing platform with a raft of new features including an online resource sharing service.

As Nvidia looks to make its CUDA platform the go-to model for highly-parallel programming - for the simple reason that it will sell more graphics chips that way - it spent much of its launch presentation discussing the various ways in which CUDA 5 makes programmers' lives easier including dynamic parallelism for spawning new parallel work from within GPU code, GPU callable libraries, GPUDirect for high-performance and low-latency direct-memory access between GPUs and PCI Express-connected devices, and an Nsight plug-in for the Eclipse IDE which offers the ability to code, debug and optimise from a single interface.

Looking at each feature in turn, the ability to spawn new threads from within GPU threads mean that it's now possible for the GPU to automatically adapt to the data at hand where previously communication with the CPU was required. By eliminating - or, at least, vastly reducing - the CPU's interference in the GPU's operations, performance is claimed to be significantly improved while the applicability of CUDA is extended to a broader set of algorithms such as those used in computation fluid dynamics applications.

The GPU callable libraries are part of Nvidia's attempt to foster a wider third-party ecosystem, allowing developers to access CUDA parallelism through their own libraries. With Nvidia suggesting that coders can write plug-in APIs to allow other developers to extend the functionality of their kernel, or allow them to implement callbacks on the GPU to customise the functionality of third-party libraries, it's clear Nvidia is hoping that developers will take advantage of the new object linking capabilities to build larger and more complex CUDA-powered applications.

GPUDirect, meanwhile, has a more immediate benefit: minimising system memory bottlenecks. Designed to allow GPUs to communicate with other PCI Express-connected devices without getting the CPU and system RAM involved, GPUDirect is claimed to significantly reduce latency between nodes in a GPU cluster as well as improve overall performance where external hardware is accessed.

Finally, the Nsight plug-in for Eclipse provides developers with the ability to write, debug and compile CUDA code within the popular IDE on Linux and OS X platforms. Those using Eclipse will also find a new automatic refactoring tool to quickly port existing code to CUDA, along with customised syntax highlighting to differentiate between CPU and GPU code segments.

The big feature of the CUDA 5 launch, however, was the CUDA Resource Centre. Part of the Nvidia Developer Zone, the CUDA Resource Centre provides instantaneous access to all the things programmers could want to start taking advantage of the benefits of parallelism. Programming guides, API references, library manuals, code samples, tools documentation and platform specifications are all included, with a total of over 1,600 files ready for viewing at launch.

More details on CUDA 5 are available on the Nvidia website.

6 Comments

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Tattysnuc 16th October 2012, 17:41 Quote
How does this affect things like folding?
kirk46 16th October 2012, 18:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tattysnuc
How does this affect things like folding?


+1
GuilleAcoustic 16th October 2012, 18:28 Quote
Damn, Nsight is for eclipse xD .... without me. I hate this IDE ^_^.

About folding, it will depends on developpers. Is this API compatible with older gen cuda capable GPUs ?

I think I'll keep passing my way. Don't like closed system and hardware restricted code. OpenCL has my choice.
TheDarkSide 16th October 2012, 18:57 Quote
i think they'll have to work hard to keep ahead, especially now that Microsoft have their own implementation via C++amp that can target any GPU.
Kacela 17th October 2012, 02:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tattysnuc
How does this affect things like folding?
Forget folding - how about BitCoin Mining!!!
Andy Mc 17th October 2012, 05:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kacela
Forget folding - how about BitCoin Mining!!!

GPU mining is starting to reach it's limits. You'd be better of investing in an ASIC based miner, such as those made by butterfly labs. $150 will get you a plug in board that will do 4.5GH/s. And within a power envelope much much smaller than if you used GPUs to get that level of performance.
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