So here I am sitting at San Francisco airport on my way back from the Nvidia GTC event held in downtown San Jose. This was the first time I’ve attended this event, so what were my takeaways? I guess the main thing was the incredible penetration Nvidia seems to have made into so many different areas and applications. The breadth of the presentations that have been put on this week has been simply staggering - examples being: graphics usage and current usage in Boeing; real time lighting and rendering for architectural visualization; and innovation, technology and design for show rooms, product launches, and presentations - just three of the many sessions I attended.
From a technology perspective, based on CEO Jen-Hsun Huang's keynote speech on the Tuesday morning, there are more exciting developments coming our way. The roadmap for professional graphics cards was perhaps as you might expect but the power that is being put into their Tegra line of mobile GPUs is just amazing. They are already pretty good but a plan that looks like putting 100x performance improvements into these tiny devices over the next couple of years is staggering. What this means is that the possibility of using mobile devices for more compute intense applications is just around the corner. Truly exciting.
Also of interest is their new Appliance - a whole bank of CPU and GPUs all contained within a one-box solution (http://www.tenlinks.com/news/PR/NVIDIA/031913_grid.htm). Plug it in and experience an amazing bank of compute power. Not cheap at $24k plus but that provides you with 16 virtual machines and takes away the majority of the technical challenges of setting up such a device.
This was the first year that the conference had included users (mainly from major corporates) telling the world how they were using the power of the GPUs. These tracks ran alongside the more traditional developer tracks on how to make the most of programming the GPU and the use of CUDA. This opened up the conference to a whole new audience (myself included) and was a major success as far as everyone I spoke to was concerned. Can't help thinking I'm going to be back in San Jose next March for GTC 2014!