Parallel programming using CUDA

Last month, I took a short course called Introduction to Multicore Programming, which was taught by James T. Demers of Physical Sciences Inc. This course introduced me to current hardware and software systems for parallel computing. Personally, the offering of this course was timely: I have been reading about how important parallel programming is becoming; and, I was starting to become interested in parallel algorithms but my knowledge of parallel computing was embarrassingly sparse. The last time I looked at the subject was in the early 1990’s when I wrote a program that used MPI. Though I have an Intel Q6600 quad-core CPU machine (Figure 1, Figure 2), a byproduct of the rivalry between Intel and AMD, I never really bothered to program it for parallel computing because I did not think four cores would offer that much over one core. What I learned from this course was that I had my head in the sand. In fact, I was surprised to learn that that the graphics card I owned, an NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT (Figure 3), was a parallel computing system which I could program. So, I decided to apply what I learned in the class by solving two programming exercises on my system (Figure 4): matrix multiplication and graph breadth-first search.  In this post, I describe the first problem, matrix multiplication.

Continue reading