U Illinois Partners with Nvidia for Parallel Computing Course

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is partnering with graphics processor developer Nvidia to offer a course in parallel computing--a course that will be taught by both the chair of the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the chief scientist at Nvidia, David Kirk.

According to Nvidia, parallel processing can offer performance 100 times greater than that offered by current high-end PCs and at a fraction f the cost. But, said the company, "the shift to parallel processing presents a challenge ... because most universities are not teaching students how to use the technology."

Said Wen-mei Hwu, the AMD Jerry Sanders chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at Illinois, "We want to help students tap into the massive computing power of these processors to allow them to do work that was too computationally expensive to do before. We also want to help them design future massively parallel processors and programming tools."

The course, "ECE 498: Programming Massively Parallel Processors," uses such tools as Nvidia's CUDA C-programming environment for developing applications that use 128 parallel processors and "thousands of computing threads" in the GPU.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has more than 100 faculty members and has served more than 20,000 alumni in undergraduate and graduate studies.

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About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).


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