In earlier studies, we developed scattering models and the corresponding CPU-based Monte Carlo simulation programs to study the behavior of polarized photons as they propagate through complex biological tissues. Studying the simulation results in high degrees of freedom that created a demand for massive simulation tasks. In this paper, we report a parallel implementation of the simulation program based on the compute unified device architecture running on a graphics processing unit (GPU). Different schemes for sphere-only simulations and sphere–cylinder mixture simulations were developed. Diverse optimizing methods were employed to achieve the best acceleration. The final-version GPU program is hundreds of times faster than the CPU version. Dependence of the performance on input parameters and precision were also studied. It is shown that using single precision in the GPU simulations results in very limited losses in accuracy. Consumer-level graphics cards, even those in laptop computers, are more cost-effective than scientific graphics cards for single-precision computation.
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