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FPGAs, GPUs and now the Cell Processor – A Call for Comments

02 May

I have received a couple of emails off blog about my post yesterday about the Cell processor and its application to scientific computing.

The basic premise is one of scepticism. The hot area of interest up to a couple of years ago was Field Programming Gate Arrays. Nowadays a lot of discussions focus on the advantages of GPUs. However, the majority of chemists have not even heard of these processors and they remain of interest to programmers and hardware hobbyists and experts.  For the chemists we spoke to at Bio-IT the terms FPGAs and GPUs went over their heads. Not true for the IT people. When we mentioned the Cell processor then it went over the heads of MOST people. So, the Cell is pretty much an unknown entity to most.

People have been programming onto FPGAs for years but none have gone mainstream in the scientific computing world that I am aware of. A number of researchers are now working with GPUs but have any gone mainstream and will they? The Cell might just be different.

So, a question for the readership. What are your thoughts, comments, opinions on FPGAs vs GPUs vs the Cell processor. Where does each have strengths over the others? What do people think about the future of GPUs in terms of scientific computing? What are your thoughts about the Cell processor?

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2008 in Computing

 

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