by Hector Marinez

Natural disasters like hurricanes and floods take a strong toll on our planet each year, and in the U.S. we’ve certainly witnessed their power.  Although it was just four years ago, we still have vivid memories of the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina and to this day, are still dealing with the repercussions and aftermath of such a powerful force of nature.


To address the urgent issue of city planning and speeding up the disaster preparedness process, NVIDIA is offering a technology that, combined with geographical information systems (GIS), is a huge step toward ultimately being one step ahead of these natural forces.


Manifold Technologies, one of NVIDIA’s partners, paired its GIS with the NVIDIA CUDA technology to create a new product for a major city in Canada plagued with a high number of floods every year. In 2005 alone, this city weathered floods that caused more than $12 million in damage and forced nearly 4,000 residents from their homes.


The engineers at the Associates of Engineering in Ontario used this product to detect areas prone to flooding and repair was needed. Taking advantage of the CUDA technology, GPUs (graphics process units) allowed the detection process that typically took several months to be condensed to a matter of days — and for no more than the cost of a few hundred dollars.


This combination of GIS, CUDA, and the GPU is just one example of how technological advances can address Mother Nature’s obstacles. NVIDIA knew CUDA had awesome computing capability, but is only beginning to realize how impactful CUDA could be to real-world problems.


We’ll update this blog with other interesting CUDA innovations over the coming weeks. Stay tuned!