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IDF Day 2: Renee James: "Developing for the Future of Computing"
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Date: Aug 21, 2008
Section:Processors
Author: Daniel A. Begun
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IDF Day 2: Renee James: "Developing for the Future of Computing"
In the final IDF keynote address on Wednesday, Vice President and General Manager for Software and Solutions at Intel, Renee James, spoke about the "digital revolution" and what sort of opportunities the recent advances in Intel technology will enable.

     

Just as the Pentium processor helped shepherd in multimedia on the PC, multi-core processors are opening the door further for HD and 3D worlds on computers. James stated that all of Intel's platforms will be multi-core by 2010.

  

As an example of the kind of real-world, immersive environment recent processor improvements are enabling, James showed a preview of Ubisoft's FarCry 2, which is due out this November. In addition to a completely interactive, immersive and realistic-looking world, the game uses the Havok engine for CPU-based physics. Another example of applications enabled by technological advances, is a solution from Philips Healthcare that captures nearly real-time 3D images of a beating heart. James claims that this non-invasive procedure represents a revolution in medical treatment.

     

What enables both of these highly computational solutions is that they benefit from the presence of additional cores and Hyper-Threading support, because both applications support parallel programming (both apps are threaded). To help developers port existing apps to multi-core as well as to write new applications that can also take advantage of multiple cores, yesterday Intel announced the Intel Parallel Studio--a comprehensive set of tools for multi-core software development. The software will be available in November as a beta. James also mentioned that the same toolset will be available for Larrabee and Visual Computing.

  

A few weeks ago, Intel announced a partnership with DreamWorks Animation SKG, where Intel would supply DreamWorks with an Intel-based infrastructure in order to render 3D animations quicker and at higher quality. Yesterday, Intel unveiled the name of DreamWorks' new 3D animation technology: InTru3D.
 
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InTru3D, Silverlight, Moblin, Rage, and Visual Adrenaline
To publicly unveil the InTru3D technology, the CEO of DreamWorks (and the "K" of DreamWorks SKG), Jeffrey Katzenberg, came to the stage. Katzenberg said there have been two great revolutions in movies to date: sound and color. He believes that we are now entering the next great revolution 3D--which he said will bring audiences into the film experience itself. He offered that "this is not your father’s 3D." Katzenberg also said that beginning next year, all DreamWorks Animation SKG films will be in 3D. According to Katzenberg, film directors Robert Zemeckis, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas are all "working in 3D now."

  


  

As a proof of concept of the capabilities of the technology, DreamWorks animators took what was already a difficult to render scene from Kung Fu Panda and re-rendered it, this time in 3D. The demo was conducted with the audience wearing polarized glasses and a pair of special projectors transmitting the image(s) onto a special screen. The effect was very impressive. Katzenberg wasn't done with the eye candy, however. Next up was a sneak peak of what will be the "first 3D, CG animated film," Monsters vs. Aliens, which is due in theaters on March 27, 2009. (We're including shots of the two clips; but they are obviously blurry as this is what the images look like when viewing them without the polarized glasses.)

  

The next technology that James highlighted was Silverlight. Joining James on stage was James Zander, the General Manager for Microsoft's Visual Studio, Developer Division. Silverlight is Microsoft's cross-browser, cross-platform, and cross-device, rich media plug-in. Silverlight works on both Windows and Macs, with Linux support coming soon. Zander said that Microsoft partnered with NBC to provide over 3,000 hours of high-quality videos from the Beijing Olympics, including a number of live feeds. Zander stated that developing for Silverlight is relatively easy, as it utilizes popular, existing programming tools, such as JavaScript, .Net, C#, Python, and Ruby.

     

James next brought out Doug Fisher, Vice President and General Manager for Intel's System Software Division. Fisher talked about the open-source Moblin developer platform for Atom-based MIDs. The goal of Moblin is to create a broad set of developer tools for creating applications and services for the Atom-based MID platform that utilize the Internet, rich media, visual computing, and to even add 3D and physics to the platform. Fisher said that in 2009 the applications will be much more visually compelling as a result of the ongoing Moblin platform development.

     

Switching gears, James brought out to the stage, John Carmack, co-owner and Technical Director of Id Software. Carmack showed a demo of the still-in-development, post-apocalyptic game, Rage. Carmack talked briefly about the different ways that the game utilizes threading and multi-core support.

The last tidbit of James's keynote was an announcement of a new developers' program for visual computing experts, called Visual Adrenaline. The initiative is meant as a community and resource pool for programmers developing games, video, and other visually-rich applications for Intel platforms, including Larrabee.
 
More IDF 2008 Coverage at HotHardware:
IDF Day 1: Pat Gelsinger Keynote: Embedded + Dynamic + Visual
IDF Day 1: Craig Barrett Keynote: "Inspiring Innovation"
IDF Day 1: David Perlmutter: "Where Will 'On-the-Go' Go?"
IDF Day 2: Anand Chandrasekher: "MIDs: Platform for Innovation"
IDF Day 2: Eric Kim: "We Love TV"

 


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