by Andrew Sheppard

These are interesting times for the GPU.

As a financial consultant and CUDA developer in metro New York, I see increasing momentum in the area of GPUs for high-performance computing. Last month I decided to launch a “meet-up” event for people interested in this topic.

Since this was my first time using meetup, I wasn’t sure what to expect. We put the word out in mid-January and at our first meeting, held at Microsoft, we had more than 25 attendees representing a wide range of people, from GPU experts to newbies, across finance, medical, science and other industries.  What drew all of us together is an enthusiasm for HPC and GPU technologies and how they can be applied to cutting-edge problems – doing things better and faster for more challenging applications. Today, after just four weeks, the group has grown to over 50.

At the first meeting, our speaker was Dídac Artés, a co-organizer. Dídac talked about opportunities for members to both contribute to and benefit from the group. Then the discussion got down to brass tacks and a freewheeling exchange of ideas on the aims of the group and how it should be organized.

The discussion touched upon topical aspects related to the GPU, such as Intel’s new Sandy Bridge technology. Domain specific issues relating to GPU technology also bubbled up, such as the application of the GPU to such hot areas as High Frequency Trading (or HFT, as it is known).

The meetup spurred discussion of future topics, such as “Thinking in Parallel” and “Infiniband+GPU.” Moving forward, the format will be monthly meetups starting at 6:00 pm, with the first half hour set aside to mingle and catch up, followed by a speaker talking about a topic of common interest.

The group has a distinct leaning towards inviting practitioners to present, in the sense of people who are applying GPU technology to real world problems – who are “in the trenches”, so to speak. Time will be set aside for hands-on practice, code sharing, white boarding and social networking, with things wrapping up around 8:30 pm.

I hope any GPU enthusiasts who live in the New York metro area, or are just visiting New York, will check out the group and consider attending a future meetup:

Interesting times for the GPU. Come share in the fun!

PS: We’ve just launched a similar group in Boston, which will have its first meeting on March 1: