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NVISION 08 Day 1: Jen-Hsun Huang's Keynote
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Date: Aug 25, 2008
Section:Graphics/Sound
Author: Marco Chiappetta
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Intro, Digital Modeling, and Sportsvision

NVIDIA Accelerates the Search For a Cure

A few months ago, NVIDIA first told us about their plans to organize a massive event called NVISION that focused on all things in the visual computing field. NVIDIA planned to take over a number of major venues in downtown San Jose, including the convention center and a number of adjacent hotels, and invite experts and celebrities from the high-performance computing, gaming, video, movies, and graphics fields, to participate. An ambitious plan to say the least.

Well, NVIDIA’s plans have finally come to fruition and they have in fact taken over much of downtown San Jose. NVISION 08 is so big, that San Jose mayor Chuck Reed actually opened the event with a few words and declared this “visual computing week”. And over the course of the next three days celebrities like Trica Helfer, Buzz Aldrin, Kyle Busch, and Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage of Mythbuster’s fame, will all be speaking.


     
 

The fist day of NVISION has consisted mostly of the massive GeForce LAN gaming event, in which NVIDIA is trying for a Guinness World Record for the longest non-stop LAN gaming stretch. The team involved will have to play for 36 hours straight, with 10 minute breaks every hour.
 

 


So far, the first piece of new technology NVIDIA has had on display is their GeForce Stereoscopic 3D technology featuring new hardware, glasses, and software. The Stereoscopic 3D technology will be displayed on a Mitsubishi 73-inch 3D Ready 1080p DLP and a new ViewSonic 120Hz LCD using a number of popular games. We snapped off a few pics of someone playing Guitar Hero and have to say the effect is awesome to see in person.
 

     
 

The main attraction of day one, however, was Jen-Hsun Huang’s keynote address. Jen-Hsun began his address talking about his definition of visual computing and detailing how the adjacent markets can use the power of the GPU to tackle difficult parallel computing problems. Jen-Hsun proclaimed that the GPU’s transition from a fixed-function ASIC to a more general purpose processor has enabled massive increases in compute performance that offer 100-fold increases in performance over the CPU, and could advance research projects by 10 years virtually overnight. He used the Folding @ Home project as an example, where the 24K+ GPUs currently folding already offer over 1.4 petaflops of compute performance—and there are still millions of GPUs not in use.

Jen-Hsun also brought out a number of speakers. The first of which, Peter Stevenson, spoke about the revolution in digital modeling brought about by the GPU. He claimed his company could produce digital models that were of such high resolution, that they are nearly indistinguishable from the real thing. He showed a model of a Lamborghini Reventon and manipulated it in real time, to show different interiors, options, etc. Being able to do all this digitally, in real time, has saved auto manufactures untold amounts of time versus old clay modeling techniques.
 

   


Jen-Hsun then brought out the CEO of Nurien on stage, a Korean firm producing a massive MMO with an elaborate avatar system with nearly unlimited options available. They showed off a digital Jen-Hsun and a few female avatars that really looked great in comparison to any of today’s MMOs. Jen-Hsun feels that Nurien has the potential to be the “next Facebook”. Nurien used the GPU for 3D modeling and Physics.

Next, Marv White, the CTO of SportVision hit the stage. SportVision is responsible for many of the cool effects seen at sporting events like football games (first down line, etc.), NASCAR, and the Olympics. A rep from Microsoft hit the stage next to show off the recently released Photosynth application. Photosynth takes large collections of 2D images (ie digital photos) and creates a virtual environments complete with a “point cloud” that is effectively a 3D model generated from the images. The effect was very impressive.

Jen-Hsun also showed a few 3D demos using the Stereoscopic 3D technology we mentioned earlier.
 

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Multi-Touch Interfaces, Trisha Helfer

NVIDIA Accelerates the Search For a Cure

Perhaps the most impressive demo shown during Jen-Hsun Huang’s keynote was of multi-touch display and interface that uses the computational power of the GPU.
 

      


We took some video of the demo that should be posted in the next day or so, which you must come back and check out. Jen-Hsun and the speaker both manipulated images and maps on-screen, in real time, with smooth fluid motion. This demo has to be seen to be appreciated, so please do stop back to watch the video from the event once we have it live.
 

      

     


Finally, Jen-Hsun brought out the gorgeous Tricia Helfer, of Battlestar Galactica. Tricia spoke about how having to work alongside digital characters has transformed acting. She gave numerous examples of how she would have to do multiple shoots that would all eventually be composited together, to make it appear as if all of the digital and live characters were all on camera at once. Although there wasn’t much technical substance to Tricia’s talk her presence was certainly welcome. For all of you BSG fans out there, she is definitely more beautiful in person.



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