I always enjoy talking to Charlie, it seems like every six months or so our paths cross, and I have an opportunity to get some insight into the very cutting edge of where creativity meets technology. Who is Charlie Boswell? Well his official title is Director of Digital Media and Entertainment for AMD, although I think he should be promoted to VP of Enthusiasm! I don’t think I have ever met anyone as enthusiastic as Charlie, and it is infectious, five minutes of talking with Charlie and you are ready to run out and start making a record or a movie.

AMD has been toiling hard in the music and movie business, CPU’s are not just for Excel spreadsheets, they are increasingly becoming an integral part of the entertainment industry. What is interesting is how the lines are blurring between the video game and movie worlds, where does one end and the other begin? AMD have positioned themselves well, the acquisition of graphics giant ATI now means that there is a co-ordinated and parallel development effort of both the CPU and GPU. The future looks bright indeed.

Hi Charlie, it is a great pleasure to talk to you again. I was Googling you other day, and I had to chuckle, one article said ‘Charlie has the best job in the world, he is a professional winer and diner’.

That’s nothing, one writer said I was the biggest schmooze in Hollywood! But thats not such a bad thing, it gives me the opportunity to get out there and meet people. I listen rather than talk, and I am always looking for new opportunities. I am lucky, I am both a creator and also an engineer, and I am always looking for ways that we can use technology to assist in the creative process.

Can you tell us something about the Cinema 2.0 initiative? As I understand it, right now it is aimed at the game market, can you see it translating to the big screen?

Oh yes, Cinema 2.0 is all about enhanced interactivity, it is a framework. We have some near term goals. Blue-ray type technologies open up all sorts of possibilities. Imagine being able to see a movie through the eyes of a director? You become the director. Or being able to select alternate scenes and endings? You could create a movie with endless combinations.

Technology changes, improves, and becomes cheaper as more manufacturers come on stream. Look at the DVD, when it was first released it was very expensive, but as more companies started building them the price plummeted. The DVD saved Hollywood’s bacon.

Cinema 2.0 is all about giving the consumer a richer experience.

AMD processors are well known for being at the heart of studio control equipment, but are they ever used in instruments like synths?

Yes it has been done. Our Direct Connect Architecture allows us to communicate with the other components ‘directly’ this cuts down on latency and makes it very suitable for real time implementations.

We led the industry into the 64bit world, while the competition did what is like a bad hairpiece. You also have to look at what I call the Critical Artistic Index. When recording music it is important not to have any drop out. Todays studios have many input channels, our architecture allows us to load up the CPU to 90% and no dropout. Intel is tolerant only up to a 60% load.

Lets talk cores, cores seem to be the hot item in the CPU and GPU world these days, but you would be hard pressed to convince me that it helps one iota with an Excel spreadsheet.

In the media business there are several aspects, there is online and offline video rendering, in the world of audio it is all real time. Bottle necks will kill you. Multiple cores help remove those bottlenecks. We have three words to describe our architecture ‘Scalable, Scalable, Scalable’. Our software understands cores, and we can scale up to meet the needs. The other thing to think about is that AMD is not just a chip maker, we are a platform company.

As to Excel, I call that kind of computer usage ‘Electronic Manual Labor’!

I promise not to tell anyone, but whats the next super secret project at AMD?

Thats an easy one to answer, and its not super secret. We are going to change the industry and we are going to do it while respecting the user. If you look at how technology has evolved, we had the typewriter, the computer replaced it. It was a big step. The next step? Make them work the way we think.

I know that when you are not wearing your AMD hat you are wearing your musicians one. Are you still out there playing?

Yes I am, well when I have time. Actually I have found myself spending more time on the piano than the guitar. There is something great about the 12 tones on the piano. You join with the instrument, you become a part of the instrument, in someways you also join with the composer.

Rumor has it you have become a blogger?

I have indeed, I’m just starting out, my blog can be found at http://blogs.amd.com/boswell/

Charlie, thanks so much for talking with us. I know I speak for all of us here at Blogger News in wishing you all the success in the world. Keep up the good work, and if the past is any prediction for the future, no doubt we will talk again.

Simon Barrett


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