NVIDIA Success Story

Science & Education
University of Groningen and NVIDIA High Performance Computing

The Challenge
A drawing of a section through the human eye, with a schematic enlargement of the retina. NVIDIA's technology is used in research to simulate the complex processes which take place in these structures.

The Center for High Performance Computing and Visualization (www.rug.nl/rc/hpcv) at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands offers scientists state-of-the-art facilities for virtual reality, visualization, and supercomputing. It houses the fastest computer in the Netherlands, a 12288 core BlueGene/L. However, neuroscience researcher Dr. Hans van Hateren has found that PC-based GPUs from NVIDIA provide better performance for his work to simulate neuronal responses in the human eye.

The Solution

By simulating retinal circuits (computationally very demanding), Dr. van Hateren’s research aims to provide new insights into the functioning of the human eye--an important step in the development of artificial models of the human visual system, which would have a wide range of important medical, scientific, and industrial applications. These include the design of retinal implants to help improve the vision of people with sight problems, and the development of visual systems for robots.

The Impact

The Zernikeborg building, where the University of Groningen's Center for High Performance Computing and Visualization is housed.

Dr. van Hateren explains: "With NVIDIA’s technology, it’s possible to use fast algorithms that closely mimic the complex physical and chemical processes occurring in the human retina. The high performance of NVIDIA’s solutions means we’re able to create simulations which very accurately match the way retinal neurons behave. Not only has NVIDIA technology been instrumental in the development of this retinal model, its high performance allows us to mimic some of the complex processes involved in human sight. The results of these simulations are providing new insights into how we see."

For more information visit: www.rug.nl/rc/hpcv.

Image of retina reproduced courtesy of www.webvision.med.utah.edu.

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