At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, simulations of Earth and space phenomena are getting a boost from GPUs. Early results on a new GPU cluster at the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS) demonstrate potential for significant speedups versus conventional computer processors.
“GPUs offer a large number of streaming processing cores for performing calculations. For instance, the NCCS cluster’s 64 NVIDIA Tesla M2070 GPUs have 28,672 total cores, nearly as many cores as the rest of the Discover supercomputer. However, since GPUs only perform simple arithmetic, they must be connected to conventional CPUs for executing complex applications. “A GPU does not see the outside world, and one frequently must copy data from CPU to GPU and back again,” explained Tom Clune, Advanced Software and Technology Group (ASTG) lead in the Software Integration and Visualization Office (SIVO).”