Creating visualizations of enormous datasets used to be a strictly HPC endeavor, but that’s starting to change. A new massively parallel database, called MapD, developed by MIT researchers Todd Mostak and Samuel Madden, uses off-the-shelf GPUs to crunch complex spatial and GIS data in real time. The approach is significantly faster than conventional CPU-based systems. Using a single high-performance GPU card, Mostak reported a 70-fold speedup in the rendering of Twitter data.
As this article at MIT Technology Review explains, the “new technology achieves big speed gains by storing the data in the onboard memory of graphics processing units (GPUs) instead of in central processing units (CPUs), as is conventional.”