Stanford EE Computer Systems Colloquium

4:15PM, Wednesday, September 26, 2007
NEC Auditorium, Gates Computer Science Building B03

The PeakStream Platform for Many-Core Computing

Matthew Papakipos
Engineering Director
About the talk:

PeakStream was a high-profile Silicon Valley startup company, founded in 2005. PeakStream was funded by KPCP and Sequoia capitial, and founded by the speaker, Matthew Papakipos. The company's product was a software platform for programming multi-core processors, both CPUs and GPUs. It included a rich set of system development tools such as debuggers and profilers.

This talk describes the company history, from early Stanford connections, to founding, to products, to its acquisition by Google in 2007. The talk introduces many-core processors and identifies the challenges in programming them for the average developer. We identify some of the application areas which desire the performance that these chips can offer. The PeakStream software architecture is presented as a solution to these challenges and opportunities. We discuss some of the more interesting design choices, challenges, and solutions in the development of the company's software. We describe the developer programming model in detail, and the underlying software technology that makes it work. Then we show some sample applications, show how they work in the PeakStream software system, and illustrate how the PeakStream Virtual Machine makes it all work. In order for developers to use a system like this, it is important to have tools like debuggers and profilers; we show how these work in the PeakStream system. We end with some speculation on the future of many-core processor hardware and software.


Download the slides for this presentation in PDF format.

About the speaker:

[speaker photo] Matthew Papakipos is an entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley. Matt is an expert in graphics hardware and software, parallel computing systems, and high-tech startup companies.

Matt is presently an Engineering Director at Google. Matt joined Google after its acquisition of PeakStream, the startup company that he founded in 2005. Matt was founder and CTO of PeakStream. PeakStream developed and sold a software platform for programming multi-core processors, including CPUs and GPUs. PeakStream was funded by KPCB & Sequoia Capital.

Matt ran the GPU Architecture group at NVIDIA for several years, spanning the early TNT products through GeForce and the Microsoft XBox game console. He was instrumental in standardization efforts around multi-texture capabilites for OpenGL, and negotiated DirectX graphics interfaces with Microsoft.

Matt has been awarded over thirty patents, primarily in processor architecture. Matt received his Sc. B. in Mathematics/Computer Science from Brown University. More information on Matt is available at

Contact information:

Matthew Papakipos