[Beowulf] What class of PDEs/numerical schemes suitable for GPU clusters

John Hearns hearnsj at googlemail.com
Wed Nov 19 13:11:54 PST 2008

2008/11/18 Finch, Ralph <rfinch at water.ca.gov>

> p Given the very substantial speed improvements with GPUs,
> will there be a movement to GPU clusters, even if there is a substantial
> cost in problem reformulation?  Or are GPUs only suitable for a rather
> narrow range of numerical problems?
My take? Yes, there WILL be  a movement to GPU clusters. Note the tense.  It
has not happened yet.

Speaking as someone responsible for running commercial codes on clusters,
I've recently been talking to a former colleague in medical imaging whose
group is getting good results with CUDA, and someone  who is getting good
results in CFD work.
BUT if you are not writing your own codes, you should be looking at a
Beowulf type cluster.
Find yourself a vendor who you have the warm-and-fuzzies with.
Seriously, as you leftpondians say it is like dating.
Also speak with the other researchers who are running thes models - maybe
they behave well with Infiniband interconnects, or work well with Myrinet.

Let's be very honest here - we all have a huge amount of computer power on
our desks, many times that of the original Cray 1 systems. The art is to
install, care for and to run Beowulf class systems efficiently. Yes, for
certain algorithms and certain problems CUDA and Firestream accelerate
things by 10, 20...100 times. But don't lose track of the amount of power in
the current generation - and imminent Shanghai and Nehalem systems.
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