Nvidia's new CUDA 6 has the 'most significant new functionality in the history of CUDA'

Goal: To make programming their finicky but muscular GPUs an easier task for mere mortals

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Nvidia has released CUDA 6, an upgrade to its proprietary GPU programming language that it says "includes some of the most significant new functionality in the history of CUDA."

For our money, the most important aspect of CUDA 6 is its unified memory scheme, which The Reg described in some detail when the CUDA Toolkit 6.0 was announced last November. In a nutshell, unified memory frees you from having to explicitly copy data back and forth from the CPU and GPU's memory spaces.

No more. In CUDA 6, "Managed memory is accessible to both the CPU and GPU using a single pointer," Nvidia GPU honcho Mark Harris writes in a blog post.

"The key is that the system automatically migrates data allocated in Unified Memory between host and device so that it looks like CPU memory to code running on the CPU, and like GPU memory to code running on the GPU."

In that same post – although Harris put unified memory at the top of his list and for which he has provided a detailed explanation – he also touts four other "most important new features of CUDA 6."

First of the four runners-up is the fact that CUDA is now supported on Nvidia's Tegra K1 system-on-a-chip (SoC) for embedded and mobile usage cases, which accomplishes the company's long-time goal of "CUDA Everywhere".

The Tegra K1, Nvidia's latest mobile processor, couples a 192-core Kepler GPU with a quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU, along with integrated video encoding and decoding, image/signal processing, and other niceties that Harris lumps into "many other system-level features." The Tegra K1 is the SoC powering the Jetson TK1 development board introduced at Nvidia's recent GPU Developers Conference.

Nvidia's Jetson TK1 development board

The Jetson TK1 development board – 192 CUDA cores for $192

Harris also writes in cryptic CUDAese that "CUDA 6 introduces XT Library interfaces which provide automatic scaling of cuBLAS level 3 and 2D/3D cuFFT routines to 2 or more GPUs."

What this translates to is that if you have one or more dual-GPU cards in your system – think HPC – they'll automatically be taken advantage of for fast Fourier transforms and matrix-matrix multiplication, and that matrixes that are too large to fit into a single GPU's memory can take advantage of the CPU's memory, as well.

Then there's the ability to develop software on your personal machine and run it on a remote device – whether it be a heavy-breathing HPC cluster or a li'l Jetson K1 – by using Nvidia's NSight Eclipse Edition.

"Edit source code in the IDE running on your local PC (e.g. a laptop), then build, run, debug, and profile the application remotely on a server with a CUDA-capable GPU," Harris writes.

There are also a series of improvements to the CUDA development environment, along with what he characterizes as many new features, improvements, and bug fixes in the CUDA APIs, libraries, and developer tools. If all of those details interest you, you can check out the CUDA Toolkit 6.0 release notes [PDF].

Or if you'd prefer to simply dive in and discover what's what on your own, you can download CUDA 6 at Nvidia's CUDA Zone. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
DARPA-derived secure microkernel goes open source tomorrow
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story


Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.