In the new design, graphics processing units and central processing units on a single chip, normally involved in separate processing activities, can collaborate, researchers at North Carolina State University said.
GPUs were initially designed for the single function of executing graphics programs and are capable of executing many individual functions very quickly while CPUs, or the "brains" of a computer, have less computational power but are better able to perform more complex tasks.
"Chip manufacturers are now creating processors that have a 'fused architecture,' meaning that they include CPUs and GPUs on a single chip," researcher Huiyang Zhou said in a university release Tuesday.
"This approach decreases manufacturing costs and makes computers more energy efficient. However, the CPU cores and GPU cores still work almost exclusively on separate functions. They rarely collaborate to execute any given program, so they aren't as efficient as they could be."
"Our approach is to allow the GPU cores to execute computational functions, and have CPU cores pre-fetch the data the GPUs will need from off-chip main memory," Zhou said.
"This is more efficient because it allows CPUs and GPUs to do what they are good at. GPUs are good at performing computations. CPUs are good at making decisions and flexible data retrieval."
The researchers said the new approach can improve fused processor performance by an average of 21.4 percent.