[R] Mathematica now working with Nvidia GPUs --> any plan for R?

Emmanuel Levy emmanuel.levy at gmail.com
Thu Nov 20 17:11:54 CET 2008

Dear Brian, Mose, Peter and Stefan,

Thanks a lot for your replies - the issues are now clearer to me. (and
I apologize for not using the appropriate list).

Best wishes,


2008/11/19 Peter Dalgaard <P.Dalgaard at biostat.ku.dk>:
> Stefan Evert wrote:
>> On 19 Nov 2008, at 07:56, Prof Brian Ripley wrote:
>>>> I just read an announcement saying that Mathematica is launching a
>>>> version working with Nvidia GPUs. It is claimed that it'd make it
>>>> ~10-100x faster!
>>>> http://www.physorg.com/news146247669.html
>>> Well, lots of things are 'claimed' in marketing (and Wolfram is not
>>> shy to claim).  I think that you need lots of GPUs, as well as the
>>> right problem.
>> Which makes me wonder whether R would be able to make use of this
>> processing power, since the figures claimed by Wolfram are very probably
>> for single-precision floats? (Am I right in thinking that R only works
>> with double precision?)
>> According to the nVidia Web site, the Tesla architecture is _ten times_
>> slower for double-precision operations than for single-precision, which
>> makes it seem far less amazing than at first sight.
> It wouldn't be rocket science to add a single-precision data type to R,
> it is just a large amount of work to get all details right, and noone
> has found it worth the trouble.
> Probably more of a stumbling block is that GPUs traditionally have had a
> rather cavalier attitude to floating-point standards. We have had our
> share of problems with compilers that breaks the rules (or users setting
> flags like -fast-math that allow rule breakage), and ensuing breakage of
> user code and/or "make check", so I don't think it is viable to try and
> get the GPU to take on all of  R's computations. Special-purpose
> computation, e.g. an R package interfacing to "libgpublas.so" or
> whatever,  is always a possibility, but that really goes without saying.
> --
>   O__  ---- Peter Dalgaard             Øster Farimagsgade 5, Entr.B
>  c/ /'_ --- Dept. of Biostatistics     PO Box 2099, 1014 Cph. K
>  (*) \(*) -- University of Copenhagen   Denmark      Ph:  (+45) 35327918
> ~~~~~~~~~~ - (p.dalgaard at biostat.ku.dk)              FAX: (+45) 35327907
> ______________________________________________
> R-help at r-project.org mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

More information about the R-help mailing list