For research and commercial application cloud computing is a hot subject. It takes 10 minutes to boot an EC2 instance, it takes 10 minutes to boot 100 EC2 instances. I can get billed by the hour. It is a very scalable and cost effective model - I don't need to buy one hundred computers, but I can rent them by the hour. But these instances only have CPU's (because they are all sitting without monitors in a data center somewhere), and I want to buy time on a GPU cloud for several reasons:
- Massive parallel processing of data - there are guys at Glasgow working on speeding up image recognition using the GPU, and many, many other applications around the world.
- Production of real time 3D images - Companies like xtraNormal render simplistic graphics using something that looks like OpenGL/DirectX rendered to video. Modern video games show how fast very even more detailed content can be created.
- Production of non real time images using Gelato or similar.
But no one has built me a cloud yet :(
It looks like amazon isn't really interested in this. And the NCSA has a massive...wait for it...16 node cluster. I guess this is a real business opportunity if someone wants to run with the ball!
The phrase to use when googling this subject is "GPU cluster" this gives more results, but none (that I found) for on demand use.
There's no such thing as a new idea - AMD want to build a cloud later this year. More or less for exactly the reasons above; lovely can't wait. It's strange that this is being done first by a hardware company (even if it's looking wobbly financially), does the rest of the cloud world know something AMD doesn't?
Hoopoe have a CUDA/Open CL cloud in alpha. They are giving away free usage, until they get the bugs out :) The interweb says it'll be announced at the start of november...