AMD Envisions "Surround Computing" Era

AMD Tells Its Vision for Next Decades

by Anton Shilov
08/29/2012 | 11:25 PM

At Hot Chips symposium, Advanced Micro Devices revealed its vision for the next decades of personal computing. Chief technology officer of the company - Mark Papermaster - calls the coming years as nothing other but the Surround Computing era, the epoch when computers in their different forms surround users, can understand their needs and can assist in accordance with the environment. In order to enable the new era, new computer architectures are needed.


According to AMD, the last 10-20 years were spent on developing processors that could simulate visual reality, and the next 10-20 years will be spent 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. This will leverage both cloud and client based processing, tying together all of the technologies and architectures that are available today. In many ways, Surround Computing shares similar goals with Intel's compute continuum.

“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 Mark Papermaster during his opening remarks at the Hot Chips.

Mr. Papermaster explained that the Surround Computing Era will rely on robust “plug-and-play” IP portfolios including central processing units (CPUs), graphics processing units (GPUs), fixed function logic, and interconnect fabric. The CTO of AMD noted the importance of 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. It will take an industry movement to complete this journey, and HSA provides the clear path forward to enable this next generation in computing,” said the chief technology officer of AMD.