boswell.jpgAMD has announced plans for a new supercomputer, one aimed at the entertainment industry. It is specifically designed to tackle the huge problem of image rendering, a process that has bogged down the movie and video world for years. Decoding DNA, Genome Folding, and weather prediction is certainly CPU intensive, and can only be sensibly dealt with by using monstrously parallel computer power like IBM’s Blue Gene, and NEC’s Earth Simulator. The entertainment world may not be thought of as a user of supercomputers, rather an industry that just portrays them in movies like 2001 A Space Odyssey where the errant HAL 9000 prefers self preservation over all else, or War Games where WOPR wishes to launch mutual assured destruction with nuclear weapons.

The reality is much more prosaic, the entertainment industry is as reliant on technology as NASA or NOAA. The entertainment world has reached the stage where even using high tech cameras like the Dalsa 4K, and wonderful stunt men cannot create the effects required. They rely on computers to manipulate the actual imagery. The industry has reached the stage where almost anything is possible, but there is a downside, todays technology is slow, it can take hours, even days for a computer to render a short scene.

AMD is building a supercomputer specifically aimed at the entertainment world. What makes this unique is the choice of power plant. Traditionally it has been CPU’s (Central Processing Unit) that provide the power, this computer will rely on GPU’s (Graphical Processing Unit). Technology has advanced greatly over the past few years, and the GPU offers many advantages when it comes to working with images.

Charlie Boswell is the Director of Digital Media and Entertainment for AMD and he is at the forefront of this latest development. I have talked with Charlie on several occasions, he is the glue between the entertainment world and technology.

I do hope that you will join me when I talk to Charlie Boswell on Friday at 1PM CST, you can listen live and time permitting, we may even be able to take a couple of questions from our listeners.

It is not often that you get to hear information ‘from the horses mouth’ well this is one of them!

Simon Barrett 

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