For many the much touted CES show was not the blockbuster event that it has been in previous years. Yes there were the inevitable plasma screens bigger than the average wall, and cell phones that do everything but make double lattes, but there was little in reality that represented the ‘next big thing’. The one exception was an announcement from AMD. Although in sales they play second fiddle to the much larger company Intel, they are a truly innovative company. AMD over the years has produced many great technologies. In their early years they were seen as merely copying Intel and the x86 architecture, those days are long gone. Today’s AMD is a company with vision and visionaries.

The announcement at CES of their planned new Supercomputer is a case in point. The Fusion Render Cloud, has the entertainment industry squarely in its cross hairs, a computer specifically designed for rendering video. Some might argue that Supercomputers are ten a penny, it seems like everyday a new supercomputer is announced. But raw compute power is not everything. Much of what makes a petaflop plus computer stand out is its ability to handle a specific type of data. In the movie and video world the need is speed in rendering. This is the technical term used to convert computer data, an endless string of one’s and zero’s into images that we can understand. Many special effects used in movies rely heavily on CGI (Computer Generated Images), The problem is that even a short scene can take hours or even days to move from the one’s and zero’s of binary to the visual world.

At the forefront of AMD’s march into the entertainment industry is Charlie Boswell. I am not generally speaking an envious guy, but I have to admit that I lust after his job! As Director Of Digital Media, Charlie gets to play with the neatest technology, and hob nob with the rich and famous! I have had the pleasure of talking with Charlie on numerous occasions, but for once, I managed to lure him onto the radio.

If you have read about the AMD Fusion Render Cloud, you will certainly want to hear what Charlie Boswell has to say about it, it is one of his pet projects, and he has brought his knowledge of both technology and entertainment to fruition.

The Press Release maintained that the Fusion Render Cloud was a planned project, something that AMD has in its Research And Development department. Well, as Nancy Grace loves to announce on her nightly show ‘BOMBSHELL’, the computer is running already, it does not have the thousands of nodes that signify completion, but it may never be truly complete. Fusion is scalable, need more power? Add more nodes. The initial plan is 1000 nodes, each node consisting of multiple CPU’s and GPU’s but that could change quickly, and the number could grow significantly.

You can listen to the truly interesting interview here.

Simon Barrett   

Be Sociable, Share!