An Interview With AMD’s Charlie Boswell

Every family has Christmas Traditions, how they start is often unclear, but whatever it is does become part of the festive season. For some inexplicable reason I have one. How it started is long long lost in the annals of time. But every Christmas Season I seem to do an interview with AMD’s guru of the visual and audio world, Charlie Boswell.

He holds the lofty title of Director Of Digital Media And Entertainment, but to me he is just Charlie. He doesn’t put on airs and graces, he just tells the story the way it is!

The marriage of technology and the entertainment world is an interesting one. Todays results are a very far cry from 30 years ago, The amateur musician can have a professional recording studio in his or her home with little more that a personal computer. The amateur film maker can now produce professional quality movies at home, again with little more than a Personal Computer and some off the shelf software.

At the professional level the results are even more jaw dropping. The world was in awe when the first Star Wars movie hit the big screen, the special effects were so well done that that the line between reality and fantasy began to blur. What the audience did not see was the huge amount of manpower and computer hours required to mesh the two worlds together.

Today the Star Wars technology is within the reach of every Film Maker. You do not need a Cray Supercomputer, of a server farm of Sparc’s. The bottle neck was always in the video rendering process. A time consuming and CPU intensive task. However, by leveraging the power of Cloud Computing it is possible to render in real time at up to 60 frames per second.

But what are the downsides?

I see a couple of things that give me pause for thought. Are we becoming slaves to the technology? Are we just a bunch of techno nerds? As a writer I get too talk to many people, often those in the creative arts and I worry that in some ways technology may in fact stifle creativity.

The key is to be able to leverage the technology without letting it control you.

Charlie Boswell has much to say on this subject, and is uniquely qualified to do so. He is an engineer and holder of a dozen or so patents in the computer field, he is also a consumer of technology as a film maker and musician.

He is a fascinating person to talk to, he speaks fluent Nerd when it is needed. The are few people that know more about CPU’s, GPU’s, APU’s and any other ‘U’ you care to name. But his real interest lays in the user experience. He strives to place the power in the hands of the media creator while freeing them from the shackles of the technology.

A common gripe of mine, and many other people is the needless complexity of completing a seemingly simple task with modern technology. A film maker just wants to make films, they do not want, nor should they need to be technology guru’s.

If you have never had the chance to listen to Charlie Boswell speak then I strongly recommend that you tune in Friday Dec/30 at high noon central. The listen live link is here.

Not only is Charlie Boswell a very interesting and colorful character, you will learn a few new catch phases like Global Nerding. Mind-Blindness, and the Autistic Planet.

Simon Barrett

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