Accelerator Card, Accelerator

January 19, 2024

A catch-all term for devices that accelerate a specific type of computing. Some of these devices can work with a broad set of applications and workloads, while some are more specialized. For example, GPUs can be used to speed up a broad variety of HPC workloads like those in computational fluid dynamics, molecular dynamics, and AI training, while FPGAs can be used to speed up cryptography, digital signal processing, or even to implement whole custom systems-on-a-chip. There are also accelerators made for more specific applications than “general purpose” accelerators like GPUs and FPGAs; these more specialized devices can implement algorithms like those found in machine learning, cryptography, high-frequency trading, or other fields in silicon as an ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) that usually also has other design considerations taken for that specific workload to make the device run it as fast as possible versus more general-purpose accelerators.