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GPGPU: The Evolution of the Coprocessor

Authored on: May 20, 2009 by Scott Hoot

Technical Paper

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Coprocessing is defined as the use of a special purpose unit to supplement the central processing unit; this concept has been a part of electronic computing almost from the beginning. Coprocessors have been used to enhance the performance of core systems since the Mainframes of the 50's and 60's. While many of the traditional coprocessor functions, such as floating- point computation, have been integrated into the modern central processing unit (CPU), new and more demanding coprocessing tasks, such as graphics acceleration have grown into mainstream requirements today.

This article explores the history of Coprocessing and how the evolution of 3D gaming is leading to an imminent revolution in computing.

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