The third and final day of Nvidia’s GPU technology conference was last Friday, October 3, 2009. It was another beautiful day in San Jose and the conference started even earlier, at 8:30 AM. Even though it was early, the keynote address was jam-packed and standing room only as the attendees eagerly awaited Richard Kerris of Lucas Films to give his one hour presentation. It was worth getting up early for as it was spectacular and we will cover it briefly in this Part 3, Day 3 of our short series covering Nvidia’s GPU technology conference.
The first installment of this short series covering Nvidia’s GTC, Day One was published here on Thursday, the morning of the second day of the conference. Day Two coverage was published yesterday here. If you want to check out the jam-packed schedule, or read anything and everything to do with the GTC or the just-released Fermi GPU architecture, Nvidia’s own site has a wealth of information available from the conference.
Nvidia’s three-in-one GPU technology conference used an entire floor at the impressive luxury Fairmont San Jose Hotel in beautiful downtown San Jose, California for 3 days – September 30 through October 2. We are finishing up for you our impressions of this event for day 3. For the final part of this series, you can expect a more polished summary of Fermi architecture when we review all of our notes, transcribe all of our audio and the forty-plus gigabytes of full HD-HR (1080i) video that we shot, and finally make sense of everything that we observed. We will also post our own video and links to full discussions of what we covered at Nvidia’s GTC. In this part, we are also including a few impressions of some of the exhibits. In addition, ABT had two separate semi-private press conferences in the 20th floor penthouse with Nvidia officials that we will cover for you today.
The main things that we carried away from the first two days of Nvidia’s GTC – besides realizing that new architecture and a new much more powerful “Fermi” GPU will be shipping this year – is that this conference is about software, not hardware. We saw incredible breakthroughs using the GPU in high-performance computing that are changing the world. We saw an announcement being made of Nvidia’s commitment to their new “ecosystem” of support for the computing and programming communities for their “Tesla” General Purpose Units that is very much like the incredible support they have been giving for years to developers in the gaming community with their the way it is meant to be played program (twiimtbp).
According to Nvidia’s expanded vision, it’s not just about graphics anymore. They want to announce a new platform in its own right – GPU computing. According to them, the PC platform is largely unchanged for 25 years and parallel computing is now becoming disruptive to the old platform. Nvidia wants to be known as a company that makes general processing chips that also have amazing graphics.
We saw Nvidia announce new support for traditional programming languages like C++ and Fortran that ride on top of CUDA to make it much easier for high performance users to write in their own domain languages. We also saw Nvidia release new GPU/CPU debugging tools and even make Microsoft Visual Studio completely GPU friendly. Of course, they released their new 3billion transistor chip Fermi which promises major performance increases in high performance computing – up to 8 times faster in peak double precision performance! Of course, ECC (error checking, so necessary to high-performance computing) will only be featured in Tesla’s (supercomputing; no output to a display) Fermi chips as there would be a small performance hit for Quadro workstations or especially for GeForce gaming. So, Nvidia is very flexible with their modular-designed new Fermi architecture. Well, today we will look at some of their new tools and a quick glance at Visual Studio. However, first, we want to report on the morning keynote of the third and final day of the GTC.