NVIDIA Shifts CUDA Into Third Gear

By Michael Feldman

March 22, 2010

In anticipation of the upcoming Fermi Tesla product launch, NVIDIA has released the CUDA 3.0 Toolkit. Besides support for Fermi silicon, the software comes with a number of other GPGPU goodies designed to ease the task of general-purpose GPU computing. The new toolkit was announced last Friday in a blog post on the company’s Web site.

NVIDIA has been methodically building a software ecosystem alongside its GPU silicon since it introduced the CUDA architecture in 2007. CUDA 3.0 represents the third major revision of its software stack for GPU computing. The first two CUDA versions drummed up enough interest by early adopters to showcase the potential of GPGPU in high performance computing and advanced visualization applications. According to Sanford Russell, NVIDIA’s general manager of GPU computing, the idea behind CUDA 3.0 is to reach mainstream developers. “At the beginning it was the brave, then it was the smart, then it was the talented,” says Russell. “And now we’re trying to get to the mass market of programmers.”

Fortunately for NVIDIA, they have a running start. Downloads for CUDA Toolkits 2.0, 2.1 and 2.2 leveled off between 80,000 to 120,000. But CUDA 2.3, introduced in July, has already hit 160,000 downloads and is adding new users at a clip 20,000 per month, with no sign of leveling off. Russell attributes this to a number of factors, including the right mix of software features as well as the aggressive outreach to GPGPU developers and partners. Supporting the latter point, CUDA is now taught in over 300 universities worldwide.

Perhaps even more important to the popularity of version 2.3 is the fact that CUDA-compatible processors started being widely available in notebooks and laptops in 2009, significantly increasing the potential user base for GPU computing. NVIDIA estimates that over 180 million CUDA architecture GPUs have been installed. “Being pervasive is a really good thing,” notes Russell.

With the Fermi Tesla 20-series gear just weeks away from its official launch, NVIDIA wants to make sure the new products have the software support in place to attract developers. To tap into the new Fermi capabilities, the 3.0 toolkit adds hooks for native 64-bit processing, generic address space support, ECC reporting, dual-DMA support, and concurrent kernel execution. Object-oriented programming for C++ is also included, specifically class and template inheritance.

Although the new Fermi-based Tesla offerings will be available to order in April, actual hardware shipments will take place later in Q2. That should allow plenty of time for HPC end users to get started with CUDA 3.0 development. Since Fermi represents the first GPU with substantial double precession floating point capability (in the neighborhood of half a teraflop per processor) plus ECC memory support, NVIDIA is positioning the new platform as a game-changer for technical computing applications. Getting software support out in front of the hardware is going to be especially important for HPC users looking to deploy Fermi-accelerated systems later in 2010.

NVIDIA is also pushing hard to make sure GPU developers have programmer-friendly tools. On Windows, the Parallel Nsight development environment (previously code-named “Nexus”) coalesces CPU and GPU programming inside the popular Visual Studio toolset. Nsight encapsulates a source code debugger, analyzer and graphics inspector and will support CUDA C, OpenCL, DirectCompute, Direct3D, and OpenGL. Currrently in beta, NVIDIA says more than 5,000 developers have signed up thus far.

Linux support is less developed, reflecting the fact that no Visual Studio counterpart exists on the open source OS. A CUDA-capable debugger and memory checker are available, but a general-purpose development platform has yet to appear. Fixstars, which introduced a commercial CUDA Linux distro earlier this month, is said to be working on an Eclipse integration.

At the library level, a complete set of BLAS routines is now available, including support for complex numbers. Independent developers are also chipping in. Jack Dongarra at the University of Tennesse and EM Photonics are independently working on CUDA-accelerated versions of LAPACK, which will advance the case for GPGPU across a range of HPC applications, including electromagnetic simulation, antenna simulation, QCD, and similar type codes.

NVIDIA has also upgraded its OpenCL SDK, adding enhanced functionality for image filtering, double precision support, and graphics interoperability between OpenCL, Direc3D9, Direct3D10, and Direct3D11 for high performance visualization. Low-level support for byte addressable stores, new atomic operations and pragma unroll has also been included. Since OpenCL is included with standard NVIDIA drivers, users don’t necessarily need to download the CUDA Toolkit to get the upgraded implementation.

Besides upgrades for CUDA C/C++ and OpenCL, the new toolkit also includes a number of other tweaks designed to take GPU computing to the next level. A complete list of features, drivers and language support, as well as all the download links are available on the NVIDIA’s CUDA 3.0 developer site. Video demos of Parallel Nsight (set to music, no less) can be seen here.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

HPC Iron, Soft, Data, People – It Takes an Ecosystem!

December 11, 2017

Cutting edge advanced computing hardware (aka big iron) does not stand by itself. These computers are the pinnacle of a myriad of technologies that must be carefully woven together by people to create the computational c Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit and Sierra. The new AC922 server pairs two Power9 CPUs with f Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

PEZY President Arrested, Charged with Fraud

December 6, 2017

The head of Japanese supercomputing firm PEZY Computing was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of defrauding a government institution of 431 million yen (~$3.8 million). According to reports in the Japanese press, PEZY founde Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Explore the Origins of Space with COSMOS and Memory-Driven Computing

From the formation of black holes to the origins of space, data is the key to unlocking the secrets of the early universe. Read more…

Azure Debuts AMD EPYC Instances for Storage Optimized Workloads

December 5, 2017

AMD’s return to the data center received a boost today when Microsoft Azure announced introduction of instances based on AMD’s EPYC microprocessors. The new instances – Lv2-Series of Virtual Machine – use the EPY Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Iron, Soft, Data, People – It Takes an Ecosystem!

December 11, 2017

Cutting edge advanced computing hardware (aka big iron) does not stand by itself. These computers are the pinnacle of a myriad of technologies that must be care Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft Spins Cycle Computing into Core Azure Product

December 5, 2017

Last August, cloud giant Microsoft acquired HPC cloud orchestration pioneer Cycle Computing. Since then the focus has been on integrating Cycle’s organization Read more…

By John Russell

GlobalFoundries, Ayar Labs Team Up to Commercialize Optical I/O

December 4, 2017

GlobalFoundries (GF) and Ayar Labs, a startup focused on using light, instead of electricity, to transfer data between chips, today announced they've entered in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE In-Memory Platform Comes to COSMOS

November 30, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is on a mission to accelerate space research. In August, it sent the first commercial-off-the-shelf HPC system into space for testing Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC17 Cluster Competition: Who Won and Why? Results Analyzed and Over-Analyzed

November 28, 2017

Everyone by now knows that Nanyang Technological University of Singapore (NTU) took home the highest LINPACK Award and the Overall Championship from the recently concluded SC17 Student Cluster Competition. We also already know how the teams did in the Highest LINPACK and Highest HPCG competitions, with Nanyang grabbing bragging rights for both benchmarks. Read more…

By Dan Olds

Perspective: What Really Happened at SC17?

November 22, 2017

SC is over. Now comes the myriad of follow-ups. Inboxes are filled with templated emails from vendors and other exhibitors hoping to win a place in the post-SC thinking of booth visitors. Attendees of tutorials, workshops and other technical sessions will be inundated with requests for feedback. Read more…

By Andrew Jones

SC Bids Farewell to Denver, Heads to Dallas for 30th Anniversary

November 17, 2017

After a jam-packed four-day expo and intensive six-day technical program, SC17 has wrapped up another successful event that brought together nearly 13,000 visit Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Coalesces Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer: Aurora in 2021

September 27, 2017

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, in Arlington, Va., yesterday (Sept. 26), it was revealed that the "Aurora" supercompute Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NERSC Scales Scientific Deep Learning to 15 Petaflops

August 28, 2017

A collaborative effort between Intel, NERSC and Stanford has delivered the first 15-petaflops deep learning software running on HPC platforms and is, according Read more…

By Rob Farber

Oracle Layoffs Reportedly Hit SPARC and Solaris Hard

September 7, 2017

Oracle’s latest layoffs have many wondering if this is the end of the line for the SPARC processor and Solaris OS development. As reported by multiple sources Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Showcases Growing Portfolio of EPYC and Radeon-based Systems at SC17

November 13, 2017

AMD’s charge back into HPC and the datacenter is on full display at SC17. Having launched the EPYC processor line in June along with its MI25 GPU the focus he Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Japan Unveils Quantum Neural Network

November 22, 2017

The U.S. and China are leading the race toward productive quantum computing, but it's early enough that ultimate leadership is still something of an open questi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Releases Deeplearn.js to Further Democratize Machine Learning

August 17, 2017

Spreading the use of machine learning tools is one of the goals of Google’s PAIR (People + AI Research) initiative, which was introduced in early July. Last w Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

Amazon Debuts New AMD-based GPU Instances for Graphics Acceleration

September 12, 2017

Last week Amazon Web Services (AWS) streaming service, AppStream 2.0, introduced a new GPU instance called Graphics Design intended to accelerate graphics. The Read more…

By John Russell

Perspective: What Really Happened at SC17?

November 22, 2017

SC is over. Now comes the myriad of follow-ups. Inboxes are filled with templated emails from vendors and other exhibitors hoping to win a place in the post-SC thinking of booth visitors. Attendees of tutorials, workshops and other technical sessions will be inundated with requests for feedback. Read more…

By Andrew Jones

EU Funds 20 Million Euro ARM+FPGA Exascale Project

September 7, 2017

At the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 6), 16 partners gathered to launch the EuroEXA project, which invests €20 million over three-and-a-half years into exascale-focused research and development. Led by the Horizon 2020 program, EuroEXA picks up the banner of a triad of partner projects — ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe — building on their work... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Tensors Come of Age: Why the AI Revolution Will Help HPC

November 13, 2017

Thirty years ago, parallel computing was coming of age. A bitter battle began between stalwart vector computing supporters and advocates of various approaches to parallel computing. IBM skeptic Alan Karp, reacting to announcements of nCUBE’s 1024-microprocessor system and Thinking Machines’ 65,536-element array, made a public $100 wager that no one could get a parallel speedup of over 200 on real HPC workloads. Read more…

By John Gustafson & Lenore Mullin

Flipping the Flops and Reading the Top500 Tea Leaves

November 13, 2017

The 50th edition of the Top500 list, the biannual publication of the world’s fastest supercomputers based on public Linpack benchmarking results, was released Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Software Tools to Ease FPGA Programming

September 5, 2017

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) have a reputation for being difficult to program, requiring expertise in specialty languages, like Verilog or VHDL. Easin Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Chips – A Veritable Smorgasbord?

October 10, 2017

For the first time since AMD's ill-fated launch of Bulldozer the answer to the question, 'Which CPU will be in my next HPC system?' doesn't have to be 'Whichever variety of Intel Xeon E5 they are selling when we procure'. Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

Share This