Day 1: GPU Technology Conference

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NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang speaks at 2009 GPU Technology Conference.

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang

The GPU Technology Conference started up Tuesday with a rousing keynote by Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang. The room was largely filled with developers, and Huang’s message that MATLAB, Ansys, and Amber HPC applications are all now running on the Tesla GPU platform was well received.

With demos that spanned from to real-time rendering to automotive design to robotic heart surgery, Huang did a great job of focusing his talk not on technology, but on how people are using GPUs to “change the world.” There are literally hundreds of millions GPUs out there in the wild, and I think the democratization of parallel HPC computing is here thanks to CUDA and some very smart technology bets made by Nvidia.

Don’t kid yourself. GPUs are a game-changer.” said Frank Chambers, a GTC conference attendee shopping for GPUs for his finite element analysis work. “What we are seeing here is like going from propellers to jet engines. That made transcontinental flights routine. Wide access to this kind of computing power is making things like artificial retinas possible, and that wasn’t predicted to happen until 2060.”


This conference has been a pleasant surprise for me in a number of ways. It’s only in it’s second year, yet the remarkable growth and energy here is notable:

  • More than 140 press and industry analysts
  • Four times the response to call for talks
  • Twice the number of talks, up to nearly 300 hours
  • Twice the number of products and technology being demo’ed
  • Several thousand attendees from 50+ countries
  • Researchers/scientists from 200+ universities, national labs and govt agencies
  • Nearly 100 CEO/CTOs

I think we are witnessing the birth of a new computing ecosystem here. The exhibitors are incredibly enthusiastic and have great demos to show. Today’s news may not seem like a big deal at first look, but, as one speaker said today, the porting of MATLAB opens up GPU computing to anyone who knows math. To me, that adds up to a rising groundswell.


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  1. At AccelerEyes, we are happy that MathWorks has finally turned the corner on accepting GPU technology, something we’ve been pushing them to do since 2007.

    We are also excited, because this is great news for the GPU computing ecosystem, to see one of the technical computing giants validate the approach we’ve been delivering with Jacket.

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    Jacket will always offer the best in GPU computing technology. Without Jacket’s runtime technology, no MATLAB GPU computing attempt will be able to come close to competing in performance benefits on real applications. It is one thing to get a few functions to run on the GPU. But getting full applications to run fast on the GPU is an entirely different matter.

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    John Melonakos