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.
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