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Quarkup
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2008-03-21 22:08:09

There are some projects that run with GPU and Boinc?
Thanks
Rakarin
 
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2008-03-22 16:25:14

There are some projects that run with GPU and Boinc?
Thanks


The only distributed project I know of that uses GPU's is Folding@Home, and that's in a closed beta test.

The problem with GPU's is the architecture changes to dramatically. As I recall, ATI uses 24-bit processing, while nVidia uses true 32-bit processing. While nVidia has more computation power, ATI has more specialized libraries embedded in the hardware. Even within a vendor, there are significant changes between one model and the next.

As I understand it, the F@H test only supports 5 or 6 specific video cards, and some models are only supported by a particular fork of the software.

The main problem with GPGPU (or GPVPU, General Processing ~) is that there has never been strong standardization. When I started running BOINC a few years ago, projects requiring high precision were finding that they were getting different results between Intel, AMD, and PowerPC processors, just because of very minor architecture differences. That probably never included Via or Transmeta processors. Now, most graphics chips are either ATI or nVidia engines, but even so, the architecture changes. The different Pentiums and Athlons all conformed to the x86 architecture. The G3, G4, G5, and G6 processors all conform to PowerPC, and the only "specialized" feature it has is the AltiVec boost. (Unlike the "alphabet soup" of x86 / I64 / A64.) Even in x86, projects have issues with clients using SSE.x, MMX(+), and 3DNow(+) changing high precision data.

So, back to the video cards. They have some standardizations, but that's only for video game programing. Really, they just have to give you a driver that works and put a picture on your monitor. If they add a new library, overhaul a library, or add hardware support for a DirectX version, more power to the gamers. CPU's can't do that. (RISC processors were used for a long time to avoid just that.)

So, as wonderful as GPU computing is (and I'm serious about that), the hardware diversity is quite an obstacle for wide scale distribution.
Quarkup
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2008-03-22 17:56:28

Thanks for the really exhaustive information, later when folding support my GPU
(ati hd2600 pro) i will try.
AlphaLaser
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2008-03-23 05:34:29
last modified: 2008-03-23 05:40:29

There have been some efforts by volunteers at SETI to create an app compatible with Nvidia 8 series GPUs. However, the app has not been optimized to the point where there are any significant speedups in the GPU app. There is more info about it in this thread.

As mentioned by Rakarin there is a great deal of maintenance involved with GPU based processing due to the lack of standardization. Another issue is that some applications do not lend themselves well to GPU-based processing. For example it is possible for the app to quickly become bandwidth limited if too much information has to be passed from GPU to CPU, at which point the GPU is never fully utilized.
WyerByter
 
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2008-03-24 14:26:41

There has been some discussion on the boinc_dev mailing list about creating support for GPU apps as well as other optimizations. But I wouldn't expect it soon.

Plus as AlphaLaser said, even if the support is added to the server and client to handle these, they still require the projects to supply the binaries or the code for independent compilation.
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PovAddict
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2008-03-25 22:16:18
last modified: 2008-03-25 22:17:05

Plus as AlphaLaser said, even if the support is added to the server and client to handle these, they still require the projects to supply the binaries or the code for independent compilation.

Not really. Making it support a GPU isn't just a matter of recompiling, most of the time it's a matter of rethinking the code from scratch in a way that works in GPUs.

EDIT: same for PS3, actually. GPUs used for general purpose computing are considered just stream processors, and the PS3 Cell SPEs are stream processors.
Not running BOINC anymore for several reasons...
Radiohead
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2008-04-26 18:44:13

Alpha GPU client for SETI

http://lunatics.kwsn.net/gpu-crunching/gpu-client.0.html
Saenger
 
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2008-07-21 19:30:05

PS3GRID has now a twin: GPUGRID

July 17, 2008 Launch of GPUGRID.net, BOINC on GPUs
Finally GPU computing on BOINC! After delivering BOINC on Playstation last year, we are happy to announce that from today we are are able to distribute workunits on Nvidia GPUs. PS3grid.net and the new website GPUGRID.net go along to create a large infrastructure for biomolecular simulations. To run GPU workunits simply follow the instructions on the website. Apart from us, this was made possible by a strong collaboration with BOINC developers and in particular David Anderson at Berkeley and Stefan and Keith from the BOINC community, already moderators at ps3grid. We also want to thank Nvidia for their important support.
Grüße vom Sänger
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