March 9, 2010

Prof. Pat Hanrahan

Over the last decade graphics hardware has become a key component of mobile
and personal computers. Most programmers understand CPUs well, but have a
limited understanding of GPUs (Graphics Processing Units). GPUs are viewed
as specialized hardware optimized for rendering. That view is not accurate.
Instead, they are best characterized as parallel computers that combine many
cores, many threads, and wide vector processing units. In this talk, I will
describe the architectures of different GPUs built by AMD, NVIDIA and Intel
(the new Larrabee processor). I will also discuss the programming models
that are used to achieve high performance on such heterogeneous
architectures. The innovative combination of processor design and
programming model are why graphics systems are so fast.

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