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Concept: Graphics processing unit


We present a way to improve the performance of the electronic structure Vienna Ab initio Simulation Package (VASP) program. We show that high-performance computers equipped with graphics processing units (GPUs) as accelerators may reduce drastically the computation time when offloading these sections to the graphic chips. The procedure consists of (i) profiling the performance of the code to isolate the time-consuming parts, (ii) rewriting these so that the algorithms become better-suited for the chosen graphic accelerator, and (iii) optimizing memory traffic between the host computer and the GPU accelerator. We chose to accelerate VASP with NVIDIA GPU using CUDA. We compare the GPU and original versions of VASP by evaluating the Davidson and RMM-DIIS algorithms on chemical systems of up to 1100 atoms. In these tests, the total time is reduced by a factor between 3 and 8 when running on n (CPU core + GPU) compared to n CPU cores only, without any accuracy loss. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Computer graphics, Computer, CUDA, Graphics processing unit, GPGPU, Stream processing


Usually based on molecular mechanics force fields, the post-optimization of ligand poses is typically the most time-consuming step in protein-ligand docking procedures. In return, it bears the potential to overcome the limitations of discretized conformation models. Because of the parallel nature of the problem, recent graphics processing units (GPUs) can be applied to address this dilemma. We present a novel algorithmic approach for parallelizing and thus massively speeding up protein-ligand complex optimizations with GPUs. The method, customized to pose-optimization, performs at least 100 times faster than widely used CPU-based optimization tools. An improvement in Root-Mean-Square Distance (RMSD) compared to the original docking pose of up to 42% can be achieved. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Algorithm, Parallel computing, 3D computer graphics, CUDA, Graphics processing unit, Scalable Link Interface, ATI Technologies, Molecular modeling on GPU


We propose the first GPU solution to compute the 2D constrained Delaunay triangulation (CDT) of a planar straight line graph (PSLG) consisting of points and edges. There are many existing CPU algorithms to solve the CDT problem in computational geometry, yet there has been no prior approach to solve this problem efficiently using the parallel computing power of the GPU. For the special case of the CDT problem where the PSLG consists of just points, which is simply the normal Delaunay triangulation problem, a hybrid approach using the GPU together with the CPU to partially speed up the computation has already been presented in the literature. Our work, on the other hand, accelerates the entire computation on the GPU. Our implementation using the CUDA programming model on NVIDIA GPUs is numerically robust, and runs up to an order of magnitude faster than the best sequential implementations on the CPU. This result is reflected in our experiment with both randomly generated PSLGs and real-world GIS data having millions of points and edges.

Concepts: Algorithm, Parallel computing, Computer science, Computational geometry, Delaunay triangulation, CUDA, Graphics processing unit, GPGPU


Modern parallel hardware such as multi-core processors (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs) have a high computational power which can be greatly beneficial to the simulation of large-scale neural networks. Over the past years, a number of efforts have focused on developing parallel algorithms and simulators best suited for the simulation of spiking neural models. In this article, we aim at investigating the advantages and drawbacks of the CPU and GPU parallelization of mean-firing rate neurons, widely used in systems-level computational neuroscience. By comparing OpenMP, CUDA and OpenCL implementations towards a serial CPU implementation, we show that GPUs are better suited than CPUs for the simulation of very large networks, but that smaller networks would benefit more from an OpenMP implementation. As this performance strongly depends on data organization, we analyze the impact of various factors such as data structure, memory alignment and floating precision. We then discuss the suitability of the different hardware depending on the networks' size and connectivity, as random or sparse connectivities in mean-firing rate networks tend to break parallel performance on GPUs due to the violation of coalescence.

Concepts: Neuroscience, Parallel computing, Microprocessor, CUDA, Graphics processing unit, GPGPU, Central processing unit, Stream processing


Purpose: Optoacoustic tomography (OAT) is inherently a three-dimensional (3D) inverse problem. However, most studies of OAT image reconstruction still employ two-dimensional imaging models. One important reason is because 3D image reconstruction is computationally burdensome. The aim of this work is to accelerate existing image reconstruction algorithms for 3D OAT by use of parallel programming techniques.Methods: Parallelization strategies are proposed to accelerate a filtered backprojection (FBP) algorithm and two different pairs of projection/backprojection operations that correspond to two different numerical imaging models. The algorithms are designed to fully exploit the parallel computing power of graphics processing units (GPUs). In order to evaluate the parallelization strategies for the projection/backprojection pairs, an iterative image reconstruction algorithm is implemented. Computer simulation and experimental studies are conducted to investigate the computational efficiency and numerical accuracy of the developed algorithms.Results: The GPU implementations improve the computational efficiency by factors of 1000, 125, and 250 for the FBP algorithm and the two pairs of projection/backprojection operators, respectively. Accurate images are reconstructed by use of the FBP and iterative image reconstruction algorithms from both computer-simulated and experimental data.Conclusions: Parallelization strategies for 3D OAT image reconstruction are proposed for the first time. These GPU-based implementations significantly reduce the computational time for 3D image reconstruction, complementing our earlier work on 3D OAT iterative image reconstruction.

Concepts: Molecular dynamics, Parallel computing, Computer graphics, Computer, CUDA, Graphics processing unit, Parallel algorithm, Branch and bound


Recent advances in data acquisition produce volume data of very high resolution and large size, such as terabyte-sized microscopy volumes. These data often contain many fine and intricate structures, which pose huge challenges for volume rendering, and make it particularly important to efficiently skip empty space. This paper addresses two major challenges: (1) The complexity of large volumes containing fine structures often leads to highly fragmented space subdivisions that make empty regions hard to skip efficiently. (2) The classification of space into empty and non-empty regions changes frequently, because the user or the evaluation of an interactive query activate a different set of objects, which makes it unfeasible to pre-compute a well-adapted space subdivision. We describe the novel SparseLeap method for efficient empty space skipping in very large volumes, even around fine structures. The main performance characteristic of SparseLeap is that it moves the major cost of empty space skipping out of the ray-casting stage. We achieve this via a hybrid strategy that balances the computational load between determining empty ray segments in a rasterization (object-order) stage, and sampling non-empty volume data in the ray-casting (image-order) stage. Before ray-casting, we exploit the fast hardware rasterization of GPUs to create a ray segment list for each pixel, which identifies non-empty regions along the ray. The ray-casting stage then leaps over empty space without hierarchy traversal. Ray segment lists are created by rasterizing a set of fine-grained, view-independent bounding boxes. Frame coherence is exploited by re-using the same bounding boxes unless the set of active objects changes. We show that SparseLeap scales better to large, sparse data than standard octree empty space skipping.

Concepts: Computational complexity theory, Set, Graphics processing unit, Pixel, Raster graphics, Rasterisation, Ray tracing, Lou Fine


We present a General Purpose Graphics Processing Unit (GPGPU) based real-time traffic sign detection and recognition method that is robust against illumination changes. There have been many approaches to traffic sign recognition in various research fields; however, previous approaches faced several limitations when under low illumination or wide variance of light conditions. To overcome these drawbacks and improve processing speeds, we propose a method that 1) is robust against illumination changes, 2) uses GPGPU-based real-time traffic sign detection, and 3) performs region detecting and recognition using a hierarchical model. This method produces stable results in low illumination environments. Both detection and hierarchical recognition are performed in real-time, and the proposed method achieves 0.97 F1-score on our collective dataset, which uses the Vienna convention traffic rules (Germany and South Korea).

Concepts: Computer graphics, 3D computer graphics, Road, Graphics processing unit, GPGPU


By reaching near-atomic resolution for a wide range of specimens, single-particle cryo-EM structure determination is transforming structural biology. However, the necessary calculations come at increased computational costs, introducing a bottleneck that is currently limiting throughput and the development of new methods. Here, we present an implementation of the RELION image processing software that uses graphics processors (GPUs) to address the most computationally intensive steps of its cryo-EM structure determination workflow. Both image classification and high-resolution refinement have been accelerated more than an order-of-magnitude, and template-based particle selection has been accelerated two orders-of-magnitude on desktop hardware. Memory requirements on GPUs have been reduced to fit widely available hardware, and we show that the use of single precision arithmetic does not adversely affect results. This enables high-resolution cryo-EM structure determination in a matter of days on a single workstation.

Concepts: Particle physics, Parallel computing, Computer graphics, 3D computer graphics, Microprocessor, Image processing, Graphics processing unit, Workstation


Forward Wright-Fisher simulations are powerful in their ability to model complex demography and selection scenarios, but suffer from slow execution on the CPU, thus limiting their usefulness. The single-locus Wright-Fisher forward algorithm is, however, exceedingly parallelizable, with many steps which are so-called embarrassingly parallel, consisting of a vast number of individual computations that are all independent of each other and thus capable of being performed concurrently. The rise of modern Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) and programming languages designed to leverage the inherent parallel nature of these processors have allowed researchers to dramatically speed up many programs that have such high arithmetic intensity and intrinsic concurrency. The presented GPU Optimized Wright-Fisher simulation, or GO Fish for short, can be used to simulate arbitrary selection and demographic scenarios while running over 250-fold faster than its serial counterpart on the CPU. Even modest GPU hardware can achieve an impressive speedup of over two orders of magnitude. With simulations so accelerated, one can not only do quick parametric bootstrapping of previously estimated parameters, but also use simulated results to calculate the likelihoods and summary statistics of demographic and selection models against real polymorphism data - all without restricting the demographic and selection scenarios that can be modeled or requiring approximations to the single-locus forward algorithm for efficiency. Further, as many of the parallel programming techniques used in this simulation can be applied to other computationally intensive algorithms important in population genetics, GO Fish serves as an exciting template for future research into accelerating computation in evolution. GO Fish is part of the Parallel PopGen Package available at:

Concepts: Algorithm, Simulation, Parallel computing, CUDA, Graphics processing unit, Central processing unit, Stream processing, Amdahl's law


The cerebellum plays an essential role in adaptive motor control. Once we are able to build a cerebellar model that runs in realtime, which means that a computer simulation of 1 s in the simulated world completes within 1 s in the real world, the cerebellar model could be used as a realtime adaptive neural controller for physical hardware such as humanoid robots. In this paper, we introduce “Realtime Cerebellum (RC)”, a new implementation of our large-scale spiking network model of the cerebellum, which was originally built to study cerebellar mechanisms for simultaneous gain and timing control and acted as a general-purpose supervised learning machine of spatiotemporal information known as reservoir computing, on a graphics processing unit (GPU). Owing to the massive parallel computing capability of a GPU, RC runs in realtime, while reproducing qualitatively the same simulation results of the Pavlovian delay eyeblink conditioning with the previous version. RC is adopted as a realtime adaptive controller of a humanoid robot, which is instructed to learn a proper timing to swing a bat to hit a flying ball online. These results suggest that RC provides a means to apply the computational power of the cerebellum as a versatile supervised learning machine towards engineering applications.

Concepts: Parallel computing, Computer graphics, Robot, Motor learning, Eyeblink conditioning, Humanoid robot, Android, Graphics processing unit