At today's Hot Chips Symposium, Mark Papermaster, Senior Vice President and CTO of AMD, talks about the future of "Surround Computing".
AMD shared with us that it has spent the last 10-20 years developing processors that could simulate "visual reality," and it's going to spend the next couple of decades turning that 'visual computing era' on its head and develop processors and platforms that start with an image (or series of images, or GPS data, or other environmental data), interpret their contents and context, and use that to deliver better real time experiences to users. Thie company told us that this will leverage both cloud and client based processing, tying together all of the technologies and architectures that AMD has to offer.
Looking at the vision of what Surround Computing is and what is might look like in not-too-distant future, AMD offered up this example:
"Imagine it’s noon and you’re heading out of the office for lunch. As you leave, your mobile device intuitively knows where you’re going by automatically calculating multiple data points streaming in from the built-in GPS, clock, maps and cloud database connection. Since it knows your preferences so well, it goes to your favorite restaurant’s website and checks the specials. A friendly automated voice inside your device springs to life and offers to take your lunch order. You reply, 'lunch salad to go,' and the device places the order for you. By the time you arrive at the restaurant, it’s ready for pickup. An electronic payment was completed while you were in transit, so you don’t even have to reach for your wallet. And all of this happens without downloading apps or typing on your phone."
It may sound like something out of the Jetsons, but keep in mind that this is AMD's visions for decades from now. No back to your regularly scheduled discussion on Surround Computing.
“Surround computing imagines a world without keyboards or mice, where natural user interfaces based on voice and facial recognition redefine the PC experience, and where the cloud and clients collaborate to synthesize exabytes of image and natural language data. The ultimate goal is devices that deliver intelligent, relevant, contextual insight and value that improves consumers’ everyday life in real time through a variety of futuristic applications. AMD is leading the quest for devices that understand and anticipate users’ needs, are driven by natural user interfaces, and that disappear seamlessly into the background,” said Papermaster during his opening remarks.
Papermaster explained that the Surround Computing Era will rely on "robust plug-and-play IP portfolios" including CPUs, GPUs, fixed function logic, and interconnect fabric. He also unveiled key details of AMD's upcoming "Steamroller" CPU architecture while underscoring the benefits of the industry-standard Heterogeneous Systems Architecture (HSA) that enables software developers to easily assign scalar and parallel compute workloads to the most appropriate compute units, and therefore optimize power.
"The road that leads us to the Surround Computing Era will be no less challenging and every bit as exciting as the 20-year journey in graphics processing that brought gamers from ‘Pong’ to today’s modern game titles that feature stunning visual realism,” Papermaster explained. “It will take an industry movement to complete this journey, and HSA provides the clear path forward to enable this next generation in computing."