Seems like a very promising innovation. It's aimed at HPC right now but with quadcore right around the corner, who knows? Maybe we'll see it for the desktop soon. Note that they plan to utilize the GPU as well for FP crunching. Sounds like this will make AMD's 4x4 platform a killer folding rig!
Check it out here.
Check it out here.
Today marks the official launch of PeakStream, a software start-up that has been operating in stealth mode for over a year now while developing a new type of software platform aimed at making multiprocessor systems easier to program. PeakStream's product, which I'll describe in more detail in a moment, is basically a set of toolsâ€”APIs, a virtual machine, a system profiler, a JIT compiler, etc.â€”that present a standardized, stream-processing-based programming model for which programmers can develop multithreaded applications. A program written to PeakStream's APIs can be compiled once and run on a variety of multiprocessing platforms, including multicore x86 processors, CPU + GPU combinations, and eventually even IBM's Cell. The PeakStream Platform's VM handles all of the scheduling and resource allocation behind the scenes, fitting the application to each system's particular mix of hardware at runtime.
PeakStream's product is aimed at the high-performance computing market, and in particular at customers in the oil and gas, defense, and finance industries, as well as in academia. As an HPC play, PeakStream hopes to capitalize on the steady encroachment of commodity Linux + x86 clusters into niches once dominated by more expensive and specialized mainframe systems. The idea is to improve the compute performance of each x86 node in an HPC cluster by making it easy to harness the power of the GPU, and of any other commodity coprocessors that can be cheaply placed in the system.
The new company is entering the public eye with $17 million in funding and a leadership roster that includes former executives and tech guys from Sun, VMWare, NVIDIA, and NetApp. PeakStream's Chief Scientist is Prof. Pat Hanrahan of Stanford, who was formerly involved with Stanford's stream processing research endeavor, the Brook project. The Brook project's work on using GPUs as stream processors formed the foundation on which PeakStream has built their newly announced product.