These sources have highlighted the importance of a computer or system breakdown. The iput, the memory, the CPU and the output, all to form a function that seems so simple i.e. a click of a key to display a letter, yet has to go through a plethora of pathways and steps to reach a certain type of output, display or functionality (Kahn Academy). Nowadays, we are so consumed and focus on our actual computers or shall I say, on the output displayed on our computer screens, that we completely ignore the actual processing that goes behind the physical and visible computer(s) that make it truly possible for us to consume whatever it is we are starring at on our screens.
Over the past few weeks we have highlighted the importance of data translating and transforming into various more, “human” forms. For example, we see a photo of a swing and it reminds us of our childhood, VS the computer is just translating bits into pixels and outsourcing them as small cubes of colors and patterns that form yet another image to be displayed on the screen. As Campbell-Kelly and Russ put it: a “familiar example of a formal system in which
we can apply the rules, or procedures, for transforming strings of symbols
without regard to their interpretation” (Irvine).
A GPU is a Graphics Processing Unit, one of the couple major components of a computer. A processor or better yet – a visual processor, that communicates back and forth with the monitor by using a series of transactions/transitions and instructions, to “determine” what color each individual pixel should be and therefore what should the overall image displayed be. In the early 90’s GPU started becoming a hit with the appearance of 3D graphics and computer gaming (Luebke & Humphreys). A GPU is basically what every computer i.e. your laptop, phone, etc. to create and image and display it on the output i.e. your laptop’s screen, your phone’s screen. The GPU receives information from the input that has been converted into binary information, it then receives instructions (strings of data) on what to do with that info from the CPU and works with the memory stored in order to alter them and execute them to produce a command/result/display (Kahn Academy).
Graphic systems translate everything (images, graphics, etc) – aka the sign(s) (Denning) – into shapes that have points and vectors or what we’d consider triangles. The relationship (Denning): The GPU uses its memory, a computer graphics library, that combines the vertex point and connects them into vertices and finally triangles. From memory, the GPU can ascribe a placement of a pixel in order to synthesize an image. The input to the GPU is the “description of a scene”. In order for it to process that scene, it has to break it down into those vertices that have been defined from the saved memory in the graphics system and expressed in a “common 3D coordinate system” that is inputed from and outputted for the user (i.e. the gamer) (Luebke & Humphreys). The observer (Denning): The GPU has the ability to compute each triangle’s color, texture, placement, depth, etc. based off of the memory in the global coordinate system and the lights found in the scene, in order to properly display it on the screen (output).
One version of a GPU
Irvine, Martin. “A First Look at Recent Definitions of Computing: Important Steps in the History of Ideas about Symbols and Computing”. (pg. 1 – 6)
Kahn Academy: Introducing Computers
Luebke, David, and Greg Humphreys. “How GPUs Work.” Computer, vol. 40, no. 2, 2007, pp. 96–100., doi:10.1109/mc.2007.59.
“What Is a GPU and How Does It Work? – Gary Explains.” Android Authority, 24 May 2016, www.androidauthority.com/what-is-a-gpu-gary-explains-693542/.