31/07/2008

NVIDIA speeds folding proteins

Stanford University has been running the Folding@Home project for a while. This uses a highly complex mathematical system to see how proteins fold, proteins that fold in a different manner are thought to be part of the process that leads to certain diseases.

NVIDIA GPUs are really highly optimised engines that can work on mathematical data in a very parallel manner (that's really what a lot graphics programming is). They have a programming interface into the GPUs and the NVIDIA folding@home client uses that interface. It can speed up mathematical operations by up to about 140x compared to a standard CPU.

A team running the NVIDIA client has moved to the top 0.1% of the folding@home teams in under a month.

Other mathematical solutions may also speed up drastically using this technology, unfortunately NVIDIA have charged for access to their CUDA libraries.
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