UPDATE: Adding comments regarding next-generation game consoles on page 8.
Advanced Micro Devices this month announced that 50 applications can now be accelerated using the company's Fusion accelerated processing units (APUs), such as Llano, Ontario, Zacate and other, which will come out later. The number marks a definite success of AMD in promoting its APU technology as well as GPGPU [general purpose computing on graphics processing unit] among software developers. But naturally, 50 applications are not a revolution. Therefore, we decided to ask AMD about the company's future plans.
As we know, AMD Fusion is not a project, it may be called a program, or it may be called a global plan, or it may be called AMD's global vision of its long-term future. That future involves a lot of pieces of the puzzle, including software applications that should run efficiently on heterogeneous multi-core microprocessors, hardware designs that should provide decent performance for actual apps, business approaches that make those programs and hardware solutions available widely as well as general vision of the future of the industry.
Today we are talking with Neal Robison from AMD about the company's software efforts, future hardware as well as his vision of the industry in the coming years.
X-bit labs: Hello Neal, please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a little more about yourself and your daily operations.
Neal Robison: My name is Neal Robison. I've been working in the software and gaming industry for over twenty years - so I've seen some incredible innovation throughout my career. For the last 6 years, I've worked at AMD, leading the developer relations team. My official title is Senior Director of Content and Application Support. My team oversees the technical, business and marketing relationships between AMD and software developers all over the world. A huge part of that work is focused on game developers. We help teams deliver the best experiences on AMD hardware.
What Neal does while ensuring high performance of AMD's Fusion accelerated processing units (APUs), Phenom/Athlon central processing units (CPUs) and Radeon graphics processing units (GPUs) is crucially important for AMD and its success in the short-term and mid-term future. But what Mr. Robison tries to achieve while evangelizing APUs, GPGPU, heterogeneous multi-core compute technology and so on is vital not only for AMD, but also for the industry at large. In case a software designer knows how to better utilize a heterogeneous multi-core chip with x86 and Radeon stream compute cores, he/she will be able to tune his app for other types of heterogeneous solutions. For example, many believe that exascale supercomputers will be hybrid and will utilize different types of computing cores (e.g. combine CPUs with GPUs) and hence Mr. Robison's work essentially affects much more than just desktop or laptop personal computers.