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How GPUs can help cancer patients

Graphics processing units, the processors that crunch and create graphics in consoles, mobile devices and PCs, can also help in non-gaming applications like cancer treatment, The Columbia Chronicle reports

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas announced earlier this month that they used consumer grade GPUs to more quickly analyze and create images of diseased tissues and tumors captured with CAT scans. 

According to Steve Jiang, director of the Medical Physics and Engineering Division and vice chairman of the department of Radiation Oncology at UT Southwestern, creating an image using central processing units takes about 70 hours. Using the parallel computing technology in GPUs is significantly faster. 

“A tumor can shrink in response to radiotherapy and the organs can move,” Jiang said. “Since we can do the computation so fast [with GPUs], we can develop a new plan based on the current anatomy. We do this not just for fun, not just to publish papers, [but because] we do want to help our patients.”

Developers have used specialized GPU processing technology in games, too. Last year, Resogun developer Housemarque's lead programmer Harry Krueger told Polygon that the game uses GPU compute technology to animate and track "tens of thousands" of particles in the game. 

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