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University of Illinois launches emerging computing applications seminar series


Kim Gudeman

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is launching a 13-week seminar series on emerging applications for parallel computing, bringing together hardware engineers with the software developers who require parallel processing to create faster and superior applications.

The Need for Speed Series, which begins Jan. 28, will feature world-class application experts from industry and academia who will discuss how increased computing performance will revolutionize their fields.

Speakers such as Tim Sweeney, founder and president of Epic Games, Sam Blackman, CEO of Elemental Technologies, and Mark Johns, an Illinois alum and iPhone application developer, will help forecast breakthroughs enabled by the rapid advances in computing performance per dollar, performance per watt, or storage capacity provided by Moore's Law.

“Understanding computing from an applications perspective has become even more important as we cruise along the trend lines forecast by Moore’s Law into the multi-core era,” said Sanjay Patel, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Illinois. Patel is a co-organizer of the event with Illinois Professor and parallel computing pioneer Wen-mei Hwu.

“This seminar series will exhibit how parallel processing will enable us to continue building better imaging techniques for medical applications, more impressive cell phone software, and ultra-realistic video gaming capabilities, among other applications,” he says.

Moore's Law holds that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years, thereby also doubling computing performance. However, experts project that in the near future, the industry will not be able to continue improving the performance of a single processor at the same rate. Parallel computing bypasses the problem by using multiple processors that run in parallel to increase computational speed beyond the capabilities of a single processor.

The Need for Speed series will be held at 4 p.m. CT on Wednesdays at the UI’s Coordinated Science Laboratory. Seminars will stream live over the internet and speakers will take questions from both in-house and online audience members.

To learn more about the series, or to view the live seminars, please visit

Parallel Computing at Illinois

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a world-leader in parallel computing research and education. Current efforts include Blue Waters, which will be the world’s first sustained-petascale computational system when it opens in 2011; Universal Parallel Computing Research Center; Gigascale Systems Research Center; Cloud Computing Testbed; CUDA Center of Excellence; Institute for Advanced Computing Applications and Technologies; and OpenSPARC Center of Excellence. For more information on parallel computing at Illinois, please visit

Need for Speed Seminar Schedule

Jan. 28 – David Kirk, Keynote, NVIDIA

Feb. 4 – Mark Hasegawa-Johnson, Speech, Illinois

Feb. 11 – Sam Blackman, Video, Elemental Technologies

Feb. 18 – Keith Thulborn, Medical Imaging, UI-Chicago

Feb. 25 – Dan Roth, Machine Learning for Natural Language Processing, Illinois

March 4 – Narendra Ahuja, Computer Vision, Illinois

March 11 – Stephen Boppart, Medical Imaging, Illinois

March 18 – John C. Hart, Graphics, Illinois

April 1 – Nikola Bozinovic, Video Processing, MotionDSP

April 8 – Mark Johns, Mobile Gaming, Tapulous

April 15 – Tom Huang, Video Processing, Illinois

April 22 – Tim Sweeney, Gaming, Epic Games

April 29 – Seth Hutchinson, Robotics, Illinois