General-purpose computing on graphics processing units
Use of a GPU for computations typically assigned to CPUs / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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General-purpose computing on graphics processing units (GPGPU, or less often GPGP) is the use of a graphics processing unit (GPU), which typically handles computation only for computer graphics, to perform computation in applications traditionally handled by the central processing unit (CPU). The use of multiple video cards in one computer, or large numbers of graphics chips, further parallelizes the already parallel nature of graphics processing.
Essentially, a GPGPU pipeline is a kind of parallel processing between one or more GPUs and CPUs that analyzes data as if it were in image or other graphic form. While GPUs operate at lower frequencies, they typically have many times the number of cores. Thus, GPUs can process far more pictures and graphical data per second than a traditional CPU. Migrating data into graphical form and then using the GPU to scan and analyze it can create a large speedup.
GPGPU pipelines were developed at the beginning of the 21st century for graphics processing (e.g. for better shaders). These pipelines were found to fit scientific computing needs well, and have since been developed in this direction.