Silicon Valley-based technology firm NVIDIA Corp. has named Virginia Tech as a CUDA Research Center, recognizing the university’s embracing and utilizing of general-purpose computing on a graphics processing unit (GPU) across multiple research fields. Such research centers are “at the forefront of some of the world's most innovative and important scientific research,” according to the company.

CUDA is short for Compute Unified Device Architecture, a parallel computing architecture developed by NVIDIA in 2007. This year, a total of 31 institutions were named as CUDA Research Centers, all dedicated to further advancing the growth of parallel computing across the globe, according to NVIDIA.

Wu Feng, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech., will head the CUDA efforts for Virginia Tech.

Earlier this year, he won the NVIDIA Foundation’s first worldwide research award for computing the cure for cancer. It is part of the tech firm’s philanthropic “Compute the Cure” program to develop a faster genome analysis platform that will assist researchers in identifying cancerous mutations. Wu leads the project with co-investigator David Mittelman, an associate professor with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and the Department of Biological Sciences, part of the College of Science at Virginia Tech. Feng also received the NVIDIA Professor Partnership Award in 2009.

The CUDA program fosters collaboration at universities that are expanding the frontier of parallel computing. Fellow research center members include University of Pennsylvania/Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Technische Universität Dresden of Germany.

NVIDIA commended Feng for his work in high-performance GPU computing, both in embedded devices such as handheld computers and in large-scale computers, such as the in-progress graphics processing unit-accelerated HokieSpeed supercomputer. “His research in this space has delivered personalized supercomputing solutions to neuroscience, earthquake modeling and bioinformatics,” the company said.

Feng directs Systems, Networking & Renaissance Grokking Laboratory at Virginia Tech, which conducts basic and applied research in high-performance computing at the synergistic intersection of systems software, middleware, tools and applications software. He also is an adjunct professor with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech and with the School of Medicine and its Translational Science Institute at Wake Forest University.


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