NVIDIA achieves monumental Folding@home milestone with Cuda

Santa Clara 26 August 2008NVIDIA GPUs are contributing over 1 petaflop of processing power to Stanford University's Folding@home distributed computing application as of August 19, 2008, according to the statistics published by Stanford. Active NVIDIA GPUs deliver over 1,25 petaflops, or 42 percent of the total processing power of the application which seeks to understand how proteins affect the human body.


NVIDIA's petaflop contribution, nearly half of the processing power on Folding@home, is delivered by just 11.370 of the total active processors used in the project. In comparison, 208.268 CPUs running Windows were active, contributing just 198 teraflops - just 6 percent of the total processing power in the project.

Stanford University released a Folding@home client specifically for NVIDIA GPUs in June, so this staggering advance has been achieved in only a few months. Developed using NVIDIA CUDA, a C language programming environment for many-core parallel architectures, the CUDA port of the Folding@home client has delivered more processing power than any other architecture in the history of the project.

"As these statistics show, the impact of NVIDIA GPUs on protein folding simulations has been extraordinary", stated Vijay Pande, associate professor of chemistry, Stanford University and director of the Folding@home project. "Teams that are folding with NVIDIA GPUs are seeing huge boosts to their production and this is helping to accelerate the project significantly."

"Applications like Folding@home are just the beginning, every day we are seeing more and more examples of computing problems that are benefitting from CUDA and our GPU technologies", stated Michael Steele, general manager of visual consumer solutions at NVIDIA. "I know everyone at NVIDIA has been closely tracking the progress of the Folding@home project since the release of the CUDA port for our GPUs and we are delighted to see them making such a significant and meaningful contribution to what is extremely valuable work."

Stanford University's distributed computing programme Folding@home has become a major force in researching cures to life-threatening diseases such as cancer, cystic fibrosis, and Parkinson's disease by combining the computing horsepower of millions of processors to simulate protein folding. The Folding@home project is the latest example in the expanding list of non-gaming applications for graphics processing units (GPU). By running the Folding@home client on NVIDIA GPUs, protein-folding simulations can be done 140 times faster than on some of today's traditional CPUs.

NVIDIA is specialised in visual computing technologies and the inventor of the GPU, a high-performance processor which generates breathtaking, interactive graphics on workstations, personal computers, game consoles, and mobile devices. NVIDIA serves the entertainment and consumer market with its GeForce graphics products, the professional design and visualization market with its Quadro graphics products, and the high-performance computing market with its Tesla computing solutions products. NVIDIA is headquartered in Santa Clara, California and has offices throughout Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

More information on the project statistics is available at the Stanford Folding@home website. More news on the project is available in the VMW April 2007 article Sony Computer Entertainment joins Stanford University Folding@Home programme to further medical research.

Leslie Versweyveld

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