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February 2017, Vol. 6, No. 2

GPU-accelerated computing makes its way into the data center

IT pros struggling with a sluggish data analytics project might find inspiration from an unlikely source: video games. Born to satisfy the demands of gamers, graphics processing units (GPUs) are finding a new niche in enterprise data centers. Their parallel architecture makes them well-suited to some traditional workloads that can benefit from GPU-accelerated computing, said Jason Stamper, an analyst at 451 Research. "Because a GPU has thousands of cores and was designed to handle split-second movement of graphics on a large screen, if you point it at rows and columns of data, it's incredibly fast at doing analytics processing," Stamper said. When CPU clock speeds doubled every two years, there was little demand for the type of speed GPU-accelerated computing enables. But as improvements in clock speed tapered, users with high compute demands began exploring GPUs as an alternative, he said. GPUs offer slower clock speeds than CPUs, but they can process thousands of threads simultaneously. Early adopters included scientific ...

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