The invention and development of Central Processing Units (CPUs) have certainly played pivotal roles in the trajectory of human history. It is fair to say that Intel’s development of the CPU has led to the democratization of computing and enabled countless innovations, large and small.
As with all things, further specialization is possible. Acceleration of certain workloads may be achieved through continued specialization of processing units. Graphical Processing Units (GPUs), for example, were originally created to accelerate graphical-related workloads. GPUs are now being used for other tasks, such as bitcoin mining.
For clarity, let’s compare CPUs versus GPUs: A CPU is a general-purpose processor, designed to run a broad range of operations necessary for an entire system, such as IO or virtual memory. GPUs are more specifically designed for highly repetitive tasks that can be highly parallelized. For a discussion on Field Programmable Gate Arrays, you can read about them here: Why field programmable gate arrays are the versatile accelerator