Technology Thread

Nov 10, 2002
Engineers Boost Computer Processor Performance By Over 20 Percent

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique that allows graphics processing units (GPUs) and central processing units (CPUs) on a single chip to collaborate – boosting processor performance by an average of more than 20 percent.

“Chip manufacturers are now creating processors that have a ‘fused architecture,’ meaning that they include CPUs and GPUs on a single chip,” says Dr. Huiyang Zhou, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering who co-authored a paper on the research. “This approach decreases manufacturing costs and makes computers more energy efficient. However, the CPU cores and GPU cores still work almost exclusively on separate functions. They rarely collaborate to execute any given program, so they aren’t as efficient as they could be. That’s the issue we’re trying to resolve.”

GPUs were initially designed to execute graphics programs, and they are capable of executing many individual functions very quickly. CPUs, or the “brains” of a computer, have less computational power – but are better able to perform more complex tasks.

“Our approach is to allow the GPU cores to execute computational functions, and have CPU cores pre-fetch the data the GPUs will need from off-chip main memory,” Zhou says.

“This is more efficient because it allows CPUs and GPUs to do what they are good at. GPUs are good at performing computations. CPUs are good at making decisions and flexible data retrieval.”

In other words, CPUs and GPUs fetch data from off-chip main memory at approximately the same speed, but GPUs can execute the functions that use that data more quickly. So, if a CPU determines what data a GPU will need in advance, and fetches it from off-chip main memory, that allows the GPU to focus on executing the functions themselves – and the overall process takes less time.

In preliminary testing, Zhou’s team found that its new approach improved fused processor performance by an average of 21.4 percent.

This approach has not been possible in the past, Zhou adds, because CPUs and GPUs were located on separate chips.

The paper, “CPU-Assisted GPGPU on Fused CPU-GPU Architectures,” will be presented Feb. 27 at the 18th International Symposium on High Performance Computer Architecture, in New Orleans. The paper was co-authored by NC State Ph.D. students Yi Yang and Ping Xiang, and by Mike Mantor of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and AMD.
Nov 10, 2002
And it was that time of the year again - Apple held one of its product announcements. This one focussed on the iPad mostly, and while some will call it a disappointment merely because virtually everything had already been leaked, I'm still in awe over the fact the
newly announced iPad
has a 2048x1536 display. My mind is blown.Sure, we've known about this display for a while now, and it was pretty much agiven even before the event was announced. This will have surely dampened the enthusiasm for this event for some, but not for me. We've been promised truly high-DPI displays for almost a decade, and now it's finally here.We're looking at a 9.7" diagonal sporting 2048x1536 pixels - that's a ppi of 264. To power this many pixels, the device comes with a new, quad-core GPU, while the CPU still remains dual-core. The camera has also been improved, while the front-facing camera remains a paltry VGA one (lame). Despite the obviously beefier hardware, Apple promises no drop in battery life compared to the iPad 2.For a device that's 95% display, this insane new display is a pretty big deal. This will officially bring high-DPI displays into the mainstream, and it's my hope we're finally going to see these on laptops and regular displays as well. It's time, damnit.While the iPhone has become 'meh' compared to the more interesting and diverse competition, we haven't yet hit that point when it comes to tablets. The iPad 2 was the best tablet, and now the new iPad (it has no additional identifiers) is even better. The competition is simply nowhere to be found, and sure, this display has probably been developed by LG or whatever, but fact remains that Apple is the one to make it obtainable.At a mere €479 (NL)/$499. For once, I'm in full agreement with the Grubers and Sieglers of this world: there is no tablet market. There's only an iPad market. I'm selling my iPad 2. I want this fancy display.Other products announced include a new Apple TV capable of 1080p, and iPhoto for the iPad.


Bench Warmer
Oct 18, 2002
Don't forget that it will also be 4G/LTE. Frist time Apple has gone that route. I like it but I cannot justify a tablet while I have my laptop and iPhone. Besides, if I get one it will almost be exclusively used by my kids.


IPL Player
Oct 18, 2002
Don't forget that it will also be 4G/LTE. Frist time Apple has gone that route. I like it but I cannot justify a tablet while I have my laptop and iPhone. Besides, if I get one it will almost be exclusively used by my kids.
I used to think just like you about justification. iPad is not a replacement for your laptop (yet). Most casual users would be able to get by using an iPad rather than buying a laptop. Once you give a try, you will be hooked and iPad III sounds pretty cool.
Nov 29, 2002
I really love looking at the Samsung Galaxy Note. Its just more functional for the times you want to do more things with your phone or at work

Honestly thinking about forgoing the Galaxy S3 and getting the Galaxy Note 2 when it comes a few months later