Fire up the GPUs: UW-Madison, Morgridge project sparks next-level computing

A form of computing machinery that was once the province of hardcore video gamers — the graphic processing unit, or GPU — has recently taken the world of scientific research by storm.

Originally designed in the late 1990s with the capability of rendering 3D graphics, GPUs have been essential over the years to creating increasingly sophisticated and realistic visual effects.

While most of the research world has thought in terms of CPUs — or central processing units — as the lingua franca of computing power, GPUs are now emerging at the top of the rack for fields such as machine learning and scientific computing.

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