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Orders-Of-Magnitude Performance Increases in GPU-Accelerated Correlation of Images from the International Space Station (ACM)
We implement image correlation, a fundamental component of many real-time imaging and tracking systems, on a graphics processing unit (GPU) using NVIDIA’s CUDA platform. We use our code to analyze images of liquid-gas phase separation in a model colloid-polymer system, photographed in the absence of gravity aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Our GPU code is 4,000 times faster than simple MATLAB code performing the same calculation on a central processing unit (CPU), 130 times faster than simple C code, and 30 times faster than optimized C++ code using single-instruction, multiple-data (SIMD) extensions. The speed increases from these parallel algorithms enable us to analyze images downlinked from the ISS in a rapid fashion and send feedback to astronauts on orbit while the experiments are still being run.