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AMD's Vision of the Future is All About ''Surround Computing''

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 24 comments

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." 

Read more details from AMD during Hot Chips Symposium on its High Density (Thin) Libraries and Steamroller

 

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  • 22 Hide
    A Bad Day , August 28, 2012 10:21 PM
    For those who want to accuse AMD of being on LSD, it's at least better to have a seemly-impossible future vision, than to expect the future to be the present.

    Back in the 1970's, one of Xerox's research teams built a modern-day desktop computer. It had colored GUI, network connection, and other stuff that other computers in the early-mid 1980's didn't have.

    The management told the research team that developing computers has no future, and Xerox should only focus on printers.
Other Comments
  • 22 Hide
    A Bad Day , August 28, 2012 10:21 PM
    For those who want to accuse AMD of being on LSD, it's at least better to have a seemly-impossible future vision, than to expect the future to be the present.

    Back in the 1970's, one of Xerox's research teams built a modern-day desktop computer. It had colored GUI, network connection, and other stuff that other computers in the early-mid 1980's didn't have.

    The management told the research team that developing computers has no future, and Xerox should only focus on printers.
  • 9 Hide
    ekho , August 28, 2012 10:27 PM
    If I'm not wrong, Intel kinda stole the idea of FUTURE IS FUSION.
    AMD has good ideas but they need more potential power. They need perhaps their own Fabs to do great works independently. They need like thousands of engineers not only in case of hardware but way into the software engineers too.
    Most of all, they got idea...good but please hurry AMD!
  • 0 Hide
    azraa , August 28, 2012 10:27 PM
    That was 'A Bad Day' for Xerox
    *pun totally intended*
  • -1 Hide
    teh_chem , August 28, 2012 11:12 PM
    Historical appreciation for AMD aside, QUEUE THE RHETORIC!!!

    Personally, I'd like to see mass-adoption of the architectural improvements that the modular "fusion" architecture is capable of. Get rid of the crappy, old, archaic, and stale compiling that's been used for the last 2+ decades and make way for something revolutionary. AMD's already working on internal R&D to make this more-widescale, but until that happens...QUEUE THE RHETORIC!!! ;) 
  • 8 Hide
    azraa , August 28, 2012 11:19 PM
    ekhoIf I'm not wrong, Intel kinda stole the idea of FUTURE IS FUSION.AMD has good ideas but they need more potential power. They need perhaps their own Fabs to do great works independently. They need like thousands of engineers not only in case of hardware but way into the software engineers too.Most of all, they got idea...good but please hurry AMD!


    I agree, but you have to remember that AMD's market share, and total income is minuscule compared to the one of other electronics companies, like Intel or Samsung.
    Their research budget is probably larger than many, in a relative scale
    Yet they are able to drive this progress, from the shadowy corners of a world consumed by advertising.

    That is something to applaud.
  • 4 Hide
    IndignantSkeptic , August 28, 2012 11:21 PM
    What I don't understand in their vision of the future is why there is an office.
  • 0 Hide
    boogien8 , August 29, 2012 12:21 AM
    1 word! SKYNET! ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    DRosencraft , August 29, 2012 1:11 AM
    Visions should always be a little outlandish. Dreams of the future too buried in realism tend to be so dull that anyone can do them, and your company itself gets bored of the pursuit. Challenge your design teams to reach for something that is both plausible and difficult, and then empower them to pursue it. That's how the U.S reached the moon, and how many great companies changed the world.
  • -4 Hide
    darkavenger123 , August 29, 2012 1:39 AM
    ekhoIf I'm not wrong, Intel kinda stole the idea of FUTURE IS FUSION.AMD has good ideas but they need more potential power. They need perhaps their own Fabs to do great works independently. They need like thousands of engineers not only in case of hardware but way into the software engineers too.Most of all, they got idea...good but please hurry AMD!


    Err...AMD have their own fabs...in fact, they have too much resources and nothing to produce until they're forced to separate the fab entity to become Global Foundaries.
  • -6 Hide
    darkavenger123 , August 29, 2012 1:48 AM
    AMD damage control...it means "We can't compete with Intel now. Wait another 20 years and we'll make a comeback!".
  • -1 Hide
    Mysteoa , August 29, 2012 1:51 AM
    I want my virtual reality MMORPG now.
  • 8 Hide
    azraa , August 29, 2012 1:59 AM
    Cant compete now? How about i3s being destroyed price/perfomance wise by 4core FX, and for the low end, entry lvl APU market?

    Im sorry, mate, but Intel only leads on the highest 10% of the market. In the rest AMD is pretty much still capable of pushing some competition. I call fanboyism to you statement, even while Intel is a great choice, doesnt mean that AMD is dead now.
  • 3 Hide
    A Bad Day , August 29, 2012 2:09 AM
    darkavenger123Err...AMD have their own fabs...in fact, they have too much resources and nothing to produce until they're forced to separate the fab entity to become Global Foundaries.


    I thought AMD spun-off their own fabs as Global Foundries before 2010 due to excess fab resource, and then later abandoned GF due to production issues.
  • 0 Hide
    pharoahhalfdead , August 29, 2012 2:21 AM
    ..."your mobile device intuitively knows where you’re going by automatically calculating multiple data points..."

    Perfect Christmas gift for every insecure, nutcase, psycho boyfriend to give to his petrified gf who is to scared to leave him for fear of being beat to death.
  • 1 Hide
    omnimodis78 , August 29, 2012 2:42 AM
    A Bad DayFor those who want to accuse AMD of being on LSD, it's at least better to have a seemly-impossible future vision, than to expect the future to be the present.Back in the 1970's, one of Xerox's research teams built a modern-day desktop computer. It had colored GUI, network connection, and other stuff that other computers in the early-mid 1980's didn't have.The management told the research team that developing computers has no future, and Xerox should only focus on printers.

    Thanks for the intelligent comment, you actually got me interested in something I had absolutely no idea about. Xerox...who would have thought?!
  • -9 Hide
    captaincharisma , August 29, 2012 3:01 AM
    more like AMD is soon to be surrounded by bankruptcy

    mediocre CPU's + crappy GPU drivers = epic fail
  • -3 Hide
    uglynerdman , August 29, 2012 3:13 AM
    its looks like a gimmick to re attract investors and maybe make the present ones feel o k. if you read amd news they keep cutting engineers, going for lower performance. talking about alot of hardware that runs software but they dont have any real big hands in it let alone fingers in helping out or pushing for adoption of their own technologies being released. they never bother to market right get tit to developers, offer support from their end when their technology goes awry and act like a king saying its someone elses job to take care of it. its fine etc.(case of 7970m and enduro issues) they have seemingly been able to do physics based things but no games have taken advantage of it, its all been done havok and cpu sided. AMD has a great idea, its just that with the way theyre operating they wont have the money to do it. I really hope samsung buys them one day. - former amd fan. my first comp was a k6 and i built with them until 2010. I used to want to invest in AMD and hope they would pay a dividend but they never will because of so many bad descisions. they got their head in the "Clouds" Get back down to earth AMD.
  • 1 Hide
    billgatez , August 29, 2012 5:08 AM
    "AMD shared with us that it has spent the last 10-20 years developing processors that could simulate visual reality" More like 7 years as they only aquierd ATI in 06.
  • -1 Hide
    uglynerdman , August 29, 2012 6:16 AM
    amd cost under 4 bucks a share. even nvidia is more profitable than amd and they only sell mobile processors and gpus... fan boys will downvote anyone who post facts about amd. i wish the company well but its doing horrible for a reason.
  • 0 Hide
    kathiki , August 29, 2012 6:31 AM
    i think that AMD is actually doing great if you take into account that it has to compete with ill practices from both Intel and Nvidia. Both companies are doing their best to obliterate AMD in both sectors employing what ever means to achieve that. The end justifies the means.

    Crappy drivers for AMD GPUS? Really? what do you mean by crappy drivers? The fact that developers are more focused on The Way It's Meant To Be Played coding makes a company making crappy drivers? Last articles I saw here gave crossfire a win over SLI. Most cards are a win over Nvidia or equal to Nvidia. You remind me of this Rage game that put the blame on ATI's drivers for the crappy fps and artifacts, only to solve that problem by simply altering something in the game's own ini file?

    Is a consumer supposed to be impressed by performance because one HIGH END card proves to be 5% faster than the competition and win its CROWN BACK? How many people buy such high end products? Amd is struggling to keep going without having to merge or being bought. For everyone's sake, pray they will succeed cause then you will find yourselves whining for absurd prices from the other two competitors. Look way back when that was the case.

    Yes, uglynerdman, it is clearly a gimmick to boost up their stock market value for me. They seem to need some money.
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