Mainstream GPGPU? It Is Already Mainstream... Nearly!
X-bit labs: Do you think that GPGPU technology will ever go mainstream? Does it make sense to invest into that?
David Cummings: The GPU has a trick up its sleeve – it is massively parallel and as such, is very good at crunching through large datasets. It is much faster than the CPU in this respect. I would have to say that I think the GPGPU has a very good possibility of gaining traction both in commercial and consumer applications.
Dave Nalasco: This is what our ATI Stream initiative is all about. We believe that GPUs offer massive amounts of untapped performance potential for everyday tasks. We have made it a priority to support industry standards, build an infrastructure of development tools, and bring useful examples of this technology to the widest possible audience.
X-bit labs: Will you enhance your GPUs with general-purpose computing in mind going forward?
David Cummings: We started doing so with the HD 3000 and 4000 series and will continue to do so moving forward.
X-bit labs: When AMD acquired ATI Technologies back in 2006, many said that GPUs were floating point co-processors of our days. Given the recent events on the CPU and GPU markets, it does not seem so now. What is your opinion today?
Dave Nalasco: Not sure who said that, but I think GPUs have always been much more interesting than floating point coprocessors. Unlike the old coprocessors, GPUs have become a fundamental part of every PC, and basic functions like your operating system desktop are designed on the assumption that one is present. What is interesting today is that we are discovering how well-suited GPUs have become for accelerating applications that floating point coprocessors were used for back in the 1980s, like databases, spreadsheets, and numerical analysis. Our ATI Stream technology provides big opportunities to speed up tasks like these, by enabling a better balance of workloads between the CPU and GPU cores in a system.
X-bit labs: Thank you David, thank you Dave for your interesting and detailed answers and we hope to talk to you again.