Video-game technology may speed development of new drugs

Nov 03, 2010

Parents may frown upon video games, but the technology used in the wildly popular games is quietly fostering a revolution in speeding the development of new products and potentially life-saving drugs. That's the topic of an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN).

C&EN Associate Editor Lauren K. Wolf notes that consumer demand for life-like avatars and interactive scenery has pushed computer firms to develop inexpensive yet sophisticated graphics hardware called graphics processing units, or GPUs.

The graphical units work in conjunction with traditional central processing units (CPUs) — the "brains" of desktop and laptop computers — and accelerate the rendering of three-dimensional images in games such as Prince of Persia and Guitar Hero. Unlike the traditional general-purpose CPUs, GPUs are customized for graphics operations and have many more transistors.

The article notes that manufacturers have developed GPUs that are having a big impact on chemistry, breezing through computations that once would have required all the processing power of a supercomputer. Chemists have embraced the technology to simulate the movement of molecules in the quest to develop new drugs and materials for solar cells and other products.

The big edge GPUs have over CPUs is in speed, reducing processing times from years to months and months to weeks.

Explore further: Namibia prepares for Africa's first e-vote

More information: "The GPU Revolution" This story is available at pubs.acs.org/cen/science/88/8844sci1.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Software tool helps tap into the power of graphics processing

May 17, 2010

Today's computers rely on powerful graphics processing units (GPUs) to create the spectacular graphics in video games. In fact, these GPUs are now more powerful than the traditional central processing units (CPUs) - or brains ...

NVIDIA GPUs power world's fastest supercomputer

Oct 29, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- NVIDIA has built the worldэs fastest supercomputer using 7,000 of its graphics processor chips. With a horsepower equivalent to 175,000 laptop computers, its sustained performance is ...

New computer cluster gets its grunt from games

Nov 25, 2009

Technology designed to blast aliens in computer games is part of a new GPU (Graphics Processing Units) computer cluster that will process CSIRO research data thousands of times faster and more efficiently ...

Jefferson Lab cluster tops 100 teraflops

Oct 15, 2010

The fastest computer system in Hampton Roads has booted up with more than 100 Teraflops of processing power. Located at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, the cluster computer system ...

Recommended for you

Namibia prepares for Africa's first e-vote

21 hours ago

Namibia will vote in Africa's first electronic ballot Friday, a general election that will usher in a new president and quotas to put more women in government.

US agency threatens to act against air bag maker

Nov 26, 2014

A dispute between U.S. safety regulators and air bag maker Takata Corp. escalated Wednesday when the government threatened fines and legal action unless the company admits that driver's air bag inflators ...

Japan orders air bag maker to conduct probe

Nov 21, 2014

Japan's transport ministry said Friday it has ordered air bag maker Takata to conduct an internal investigation after cases of its air bags exploding triggered safety concerns in the United States and other countries.

Senators get no clear answers on air bag safety

Nov 20, 2014

There were apologies and long-winded explanations, but after nearly four hours of testimony about exploding air bags, senators never got a clear answer to the question most people have: whether or not their ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.