U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Named CUDA Center of Excellence

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) has been named Nvidia's first CUDA "Center of Excellence" for adopting parallel computing strategies and applying them to research. The university also said it has received $500,000 from Nvidia to support ongoing research and to help develop parallel computing facilities.

CUDA is a suite of tools, including a C-compiler and SDK, for developing multi-core and parallel processing applications on Nvidia's GPUs. Forty-one universities are currently using CUDA for multi-core and parallel processing programming, which is about double the number of universities that were using it seven months ago.

UIUC is using parallel processing for research in computational biophysics and has "successfully accelerated NAMD/VMD--a popular parallel molecular dynamics application that analyzes large biomolecular systems," according to the university.

"We're very excited to partner with Nvidia and anticipate that together we will achieve breakthroughs in biomedicine, leading to a better understanding of disease and more effective treatments," said Klaus Schulten, Swanlund Professor of Physics and director of the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group at UIUC, in a statement released Monday. "This generous gift will be a great stimulus for Illinois' team of outstanding young programmers. It will help to extend their ranks and equip them with the necessary tools to advance computing in decades to come."

Universities that wish to become CUDA Centers of Excellence include CUDA technologies in their research efforts and teach at least one course in CUDA.

Around this time last year, UIUC partnered with Nvidia to offer a course in parallel computing such tools as Nvidia's CUDA C-programming environment taught by both the chair of the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the chief scientist at Nvidia, David Kirk.

Those institutions that are accepted as CUDA Centers of Excellence receive funding, equipment donations, and support for setting up a GPU computing cluster. In addition to the $500,000 donation it received this week, UIUC has received about $800,000 in equipment in the form of a 16-node CUDA technology cluster administered by UIUC's National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).

Further information on CUDA can be found here.

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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