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IDF Spring 04: Day 3: Keynote

by David Ross on 19 February 2004, 00:00

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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Pat ‘Father of IDF’ Gelsinger.

Today the father decided to discuss his thoughts surrounding some of the fundamental changes driving the Tech industry. In the Information Age innovation is the fuel and needs are the catalysts.

Innovation is getting harder within the industry however Intel is blazing new trails. IBM didn’t see the need for 32bit in the PC system and Intel drove that market forward. Intel are here to innovate and invent the future. Where is the future headed?

The demands on the information infrastructure are astounding. More and more people are creating ‘Digital Libraries’, putting content in storage and online driving both bandwidth requirements and inexpensive storage systems. Intel recognizes these challenges and has outlined the fundamental issues below:

“RMS” – Recognition, Mining, Synthesis.

Recognition is the end user interfaces, multimodal detections, and statistical computing. Once you have gathered the recognition you need to ‘mine’ or gather the relevant information: streaming, web mining, content based image retrieval, and summarization are all components of mining. Currently an issue with mining is relevancy of the results and sorting according to the selection criteria. The Synthesis of this is the virtual palette: seeing yourself in the clothes virtually, or taking simulations and seeing how things are going to work. This is the convergence of the work load driving architectural innovation.

Today’s graphics are not up to the task of providing true image rendering as you don’t see the full range of brightness or colour. The basic issue is that current graphics architectures are based on rendering one triangle at a time. If you want to create advanced graphics, then you need multiple triangles based on the output of the program and on previously rendered triangles. An excellent example is a shadow – you need a triangle to cast a shadow of the original triangle. Today’s graphics use various shortcuts to create shadows. The fundamental differences between Ray Tracing (extremely detailed but slow) and Rasterization (much faster) are shown below.

The trouble with Ray tracing is that it is tremendously slow on current hardware. You can define the material attributes however and this gives the artist tremendous control. To put the processing power into perspective for Ray Tracing, a 23 twin itanium cluster is able to do 10fps state of rendering involves 400gFlops of data and represents a huge investment. This company has many contracts for modelling – AirBus, Audi etc.

A simple example: When rendering sunflowers: one billion polygons – at 640*480 at 4fps, this wouldn’t be possible on current architecture.