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NVIDIA GPUs put to work to detect bombs, hazardous chemicals

Posted on Sunday, November 16 2008 @ 22:32:45 CET by

Mercury News has published an article about the benefits of GPGPU computing, the article talks about some companies that use GPUs to get higher performance for specific tasks. Evolved Machines for instance uses NVIDIA GPUs to create systems that could detect bombs or identify hazardous chemicals:
One person who is convinced Nvidia is right is Paul Rhodes, founder of Evolved Machines in Palo Alto. His company is using Nvidia's GPUs to perform computer simulations of brain circuits, in hopes of developing products that can see and, like animals, pick up scents.

That could enable U.S. Customs inspectors to detect bombs hidden by terrorists in shipping containers or help firefighters assess what hazardous chemicals are leaking from an overturned tanker truck, according to Rhodes. He chose Nvidia's speedy GPUs because personal computers equipped with even the most advanced CPUs were too slow for the simulations.

"It just requires more computer power than even a cluster of normal PCs can deliver," said Rhodes,

whose company in October won a $5.1 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to pursue its sensing technology. "The power and performance that Nvidia's hardware offers is spectacular."

Nvidia executives say scores of other businesses and university scientists are using their chips for a variety of purposes that have little to do with creating dazzling images. Among the examples they cite:

Houston-based Headwave and SeismicCity depend on the GPUs to analyze geologic data so they can locate oil and gas deposits. The National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., uses them for its weather forecasts. And General Mills of Minneapolis relies on Nvidia's chips reportedly to help develop frozen pizzas that have crispier crusts and gooier tops when cooked.
NVIDIA estimates the potential worldwide market or multipurpose GPUs is $5 billion a year, which is almost 25 percent more than the revenue it earned in 2007. NVIDIA is going after the market with Tesla and CUDA, AMD rolled out their new Stream Technology initiative last week and Intel is working hard on the development of a CPU-based GPU, the Larrabee. Read more over here.



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