(Source: WallStreetJournal) In the film “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” the wizard Dumbledore conjures up a tornado of fire that marks a new feat in animation — and a milestone for a breed of chips that are beginning to play broader roles in the computing world.

The simulation was created by Lucasfilm Ltd.’s Industrial Light & Magic unit, which developed software that exploited the collective power of graphics chips from Nvidia Corp. in dozens of computer workstations.

Special-effects houses ordinarily use those desktop machines to conceive and refine animation ideas, while hundreds of servers are used to render final images in a process that can take days or weeks.

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