Nvidia may have finally found the killer app that will bring the benefits of CUDA - its language for offloading highly parallel tasks on to the graphics processor - to the masses: CUDA-accelerated virus scanning.
As reported over on Fudzilla
, the company's general manager of CUDA Sanford Russell has confirmed that his group is working on offloading the grunt work of scanning for viruses on to the GPU - potentially offering a massive speed-up over traditional CPU-based scanners.
Because the act of comparing a known string - some executable code - to a massive database of other known strings - virus code - is highly parallel, the potential performance benefit from a CUDA-based scanner is huge. As well as actually making the scan itself faster, the move would free up the system CPU for other tasks - potentially making the entire system feel more responsive.
With the global market for anti-virus - and anti-spyware and other malware - products being so large, it's would be a huge boon for Nvidia if it was able to convince a couple of the big names to offer CUDA-based offload support, especially if they could slap a nice big "The Way It's Meant To Be Scanned
" logo on their product box.
If the company can get enough anti-virus providers offering CUDA-based scanners, Nvidia would finally have a unique selling point with which to attack the business market - traditionally dominated by Intel and its range of unexciting on-board graphics chips. While this would be unlikely to help sell its high-margin products, which remain aimed squarely at gamers and those making DIY supercomputers
, it would give it a large sector to which it can sell its lower-end products.
So far Nvidia has yet to announce any partnerships with anti-virus manufacturers.
Does the idea of CUDA-accelerated anti-virus fill you with glee, or are modern multi-core and multi-processor systems already more than capable of handling a task as simple as virus scanning without offloading to the GPU? Share your thoughts over in the forums