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November 18, 2013

AMD Developer Summit Spotlights Heterogeneous Computing

John Melonakos, CEO of AccelerEyes
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Last week, the annual AMD Developer Conference (APU 13) was held in the San Jose Convention Center. The two and a half day conference brought together technical computing researchers and enthusiasts from around the world.

The tagline of the event was “Epicenter of Heterogeneous Computing.” AMD is uniquely positioned in the market with a world class CPU as well as a world class GPU. They are leading the way in combining the best of those two devices into a single heterogeneous chip, the APU.

AMD’s APUs are programmable via OpenCL, the industry standard for heterogeneous development. AMD is also leading the way with standards for Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA). Those themes dominated the conference with sessions and demos revolving around OpenCL heterogeneous development and HSA.

The conference boasted 10 keynote presentations from various luminaries in the field. The first full-day of the conference was focused on technical computing. The second day included more entertainment and gaming themes.

Highlights from the technical computing keynotes include:

  • Mike Muller, CTO at ARM, talked about heterogeneous computing. He said it nicely with, “Heterogeneous computing is the future. It has also been our past, but we didn’t notice because a few shiny companies overshadowed everything else.” That is a great way to describe it. The future of heterogeneous computing involves the rise in importance of non-x86 processors. “Throwing a few more MHz onto a CPU no longer is capable of satiating computational demands,” said Mike.
  • Nandini Ramani, VP at Oracle, talked about the importance of Java for heterogeneous computing. She pointed to the 9 million worldwide Java developers. She announced that Oracle would be joining the HSA foundation.
  • Tony King-Smith, VP at Imagination Technologies, talked about the big gains mobile GPUs are experiencing (soon surpassing 20-30 GFLOPs) and the importance of software libraries for the heterogeneous computing ecosystem.

AMD made several announcements at the show, including the release of new products such as the AMD Radeon R9 209X discrete GPU, the upcoming Hawaii GPU architecture, and the new AMD Kaveri APU.

For my technical computing company, APU 2013 was a wonderful way to connect with customers looking for software and services to take advantage of heterogeneous computing.

We blogged and tweeted about our favorite APU 2013 moments. It was a great precursor conference to SC13. See you in Denver!

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