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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/92833
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- Analysing astronomy algorithms for graphics processing units and beyond
- Barsdell, B. R.; Barnes, D. G.; Fluke, C. J.
- Astronomy depends on ever-increasing computing power. Processor clock rates have plateaued, and increased performance is now appearing in the form of additional processor cores on a single chip. This poses significant challenges to the astronomy software community. Graphics processing units (GPUs), now capable of general-purpose computation, exemplify both the difficult learning curve and the significant speedups exhibited by massively parallel hardware architectures. We present a generalized approach to tackling this paradigm shift, based on the analysis of algorithms. We describe a small collection of foundation algorithms relevant to astronomy and explain how they may be used to ease the transition to massively parallel computing architectures. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach by applying it to four well-known astronomy problems: Hoegbom clean, inverse ray-shooting for gravitational lensing, pulsar dedispersion and volume rendering. Algorithms with well-defined memory access patterns and high arithmetic intensity stand to receive the greatest performance boost from massively parallel architectures, while those that involve a significant amount of decision-making may struggle to take advantage of the available processing power.
- Publication type
- Journal article
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology. Faculty of Information and Communication Technologies. Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing
- Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 408, no. 3 (Nov 2010), pp. 1936-1944
- Publication year
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation copyright © 2010 Royal Astronomical Society. Accepted manuscript reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. The definitive publication is available at www.interscience.wiley.com.