Hybrid computing (using CPUs plus GPUs to accelerate processing speed/throughput) and necrotizing faciitis (a flesh-eating bacterial* infection) have more in common than is typically thought. Both exhibit high growth rates, and both are incredibly difficult to stop once they get started. This story is perhaps best told via …
Hybrid Computing just like wanking
"Both exhibit high growth rates, and both are incredibly difficult to stop once they get started."
Re: Hybrid Computing just like wanking
Thank you. That is a much more pleasant analogy.
Hybrid computing is popular because it's a good idea: GPUs provide an economical and energy-efficient source of floating-point horsepower.
They're not ideal because they're severely limited in their flexibility. It would be better if you could get off-the-shelf microprocessors which, like the chip that powered the NEC SX-7, that perform vector calculations in the style of a Cray-1 and its successors. But supercomputing is such a small market that custom hardware for it is uneconomical: plus such an architecture appears to require a very high-bandwidth path to memory to be useful.
I think that Cray-style vector computing will someday make a comeback. Intel has finally decided to catch up with AltiVec through its recent adoption of AVX, and cache sizes in modern microchips equal the entire memory of the original Cray-1. So there's a demand for better vector power in mass-market chips, so the option of going with the classics is one that seems obvious enough that someone is eventually going to consider it.
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