Applications that need to perform massively parallel operations, like processing large arrays, may use the CUDA framework to accelerate their processing on graphics processing units (GPUs). The CUDA framework has two complementary pieces to it.

There are a set of GPU instruction set extensions that are implemented by various graphics cards. These instruction set extensions are known as the CUDA Compute Capability.

The second part of the framework is an SDK that allows developers to take advantage of the hardware’s instruction set extensions of a particular version (a specific CUDA Compute Capability version, that is).

An application will link with a version of the CUDA SDK, and the version of the CUDA SDK controls which CUDA Compute Capability versions the application will be able to work with.

The os_traits.hw.gpu.cuda module contains traits for both the CUDA compute capability version as well as the CUDA SDK version. For example, os_traits.hw.gpu.cuda.COMPUTE_CAPABILITY_V3_2 and os_traits.hw.gpu.cuda.SDK_V6_5.

The os_traits.hw.gpu.cuda module contains a utility function called compute_capabilities_supported() that accepts a trait indicating the CUDA SDK version and returns a set() containing the matching CUDA compute capability traits that that version of the CUDA SDK knows how to utilize.

Here is an example of listing the CUDA compute capability version traits that the CUDA SDK 8.0 is capable of working with:

>>> from os_traits.hw.gpu import cuda
>>> import pprint
>>> sdk8_caps = cuda.compute_capabilities_supported(cuda.SDK_V8_0)
>>> pprint.pprint(sdk8_caps)

For more information on CUDA, see the Wikipedia article.


While data is typically encrypted today when stored on disk, it is stored in DRAM in the clear. This can leave the data vulnerable to snooping by unauthorized administrators or software, or by hardware probing. New non-volatile memory technology (NVDIMM) exacerbates this problem since an NVDIMM chip can be physically removed from a system with the data intact, similar to a hard drive. Without encryption any stored information such as sensitive data, passwords, or secret keys can be easily compromised.

AMD’s SEV (Secure Encrypted Virtualization) is a VM protection technology which transparently encrypts the memory of each VM with a unique key. It can also calculate a signature of the memory contents, which can be sent to the VM’s owner as an attestation that the memory was encrypted correctly by the firmware. SEV is particularly applicable to cloud computing since it can reduce the amount of trust VMs need to place in the hypervisor and administrator of their host system.

The os_traits.hw.cpu.amd.SEV trait is reserved in order to indicate that a compute host contains support for SEV not only on-CPU, but also in all other layers of the hypervisor stack required in order to take advantage of this feature.