DailyTech has another article on the joys of GPGPU computing. The site reports MTU researchers are using a $1,400 desktop PC for tasks that would normally need a supercomputer:
Computer modeling has made these trial-and-error type studies easier by being able to replicate a system's response to an introduced external factor -- simply program the behavior of the components of the system and hit the start button.
Agent based modeling may take this kind of systems study to the next level, however, and a team of computer scientists at Michigan Tech University are making it happen without the use of super-powerful, super-expensive supercomputers. Under the direction of Roshan D'Souza, computer science students at MTU have developed agent based modeling software that harnesses the power of modern graphics processing units.
"With a $1,400 desktop, we can beat a computing cluster. We are effectively democratizing supercomputing and putting these powerful tools into the hands of any researcher. Every time I present this research, I make it a point to thank the millions of video gamers who have inadvertently made this possible,” says D'Souza of the project.