Google's Acquisition of Peakstream

Google’s acquisition of Peakstream is obviously relevant to the theme we’ve been sounding here recently about the importance of concurrent programming. Nat wrote about this in backchannel email after my previous blog post, but I thought his comment was appropriate to share more widely.

Nat picked up on one of Adam Beberg’s comments about Folding@home’s use of GPUs from the IP thread I pointed to earlier. I didn’t reproduce this quote in the original post, but it was in the full email thread I’d sent around internally:

We use BrookGPU (also out of Stanford) to fold on the GPU’s and
manage the insane hardware under the hood, and actually manage to be
computationally limited not bandwidth limited. It’s a very simple
way of hiding all the complexity and nothing a run of the mill programmer
can’t use – our GPU code is by a chemist. Yes he knows what’s under the
hood, but it’s all hidden by Brook so it’s mostly trial and error until you
hit the hardware limits.

Nat then pointed out:

Google just bought a company that makes programming tools for general
purpose GPU programming. GPUs are a new source of parallel
computation. They used to be used to just handle graphics tasks but
now companies like nVidia are making general purpose GPUs for
arbitrary computation.