General-purpose computing on graphics processing units (general-purpose graphics processing unit, GPGPU) is the utilization of a graphics processing unit (GPU), which typically handles computation only for computer graphics, to perform computation in applications traditionally handled by the central processing unit (CPU). Unlike CPUs, however, GPUs have a parallel throughput architecture that emphasizes executing many concurrent threads slowly, rather than executing a single thread very quickly.

 

In modern supercomputing the general term is accelerating co-processor (or simply accelerator) since there are now a number of different types of accelerators.