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AMD Fusion Developers Summit Day 1 Keynote
Date: Jun 12, 2012
Author: Marco Chiappetta
AFDS Keynote, Day One

Lisa Su, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Global Business Units, opened up this year’s AMD Fusion Developers Summit by reiterating AMD’s commitment to heterogeneous computing. She began her talk by saying that AMD is firmly committed to heterogeneous computing because the company has literally bet its future on the technology.

Lisa Su, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Global Business Units on stage at AFDS '12

She continued by talking about the ongoing shift in computing to lower power and mobile form factors, convergence, and how AMD is focused on aligning with the current market trends. She also talked about how AMD plans on advancing its products in the market and consistently delivering more features and performance. Lisa Su then went on to talk about how AMD’s technology is leading in the space through generational enhancements to the company’s GPUs and APUs. “The mission is to drive innovation and adoption of APUs across all markets”, Su said. She continued on by talking about recent GPU and APU releases, focusing mostly on Trinity, which is AMD’s second generation A-Series APU. She implored the developers in attendance to create new ways to leverage the capabilities of AMD’s APUs and said this week's AFDS, is all about making it easier to develop for application for heterogeneous computing. Su then continued on by talking about AMD’s commitment to open standards like OpenCL and then talked a bit about many of the key players in heterogeneous computing, like Adobe, Arcsoft, and many others.

AMD's John Taylor and Manju Hedge at AFDS '12

Lisa finished up and John Taylor and Manju Hedge came out on stage. Mr. Taylor said, “This is now the epicenter of the heterogeneous computing movement”, referring to AFDS, and went on to thank the many sponsors of the event. Then Manju Hedge took over.

Adobe Talks Heterogeneous Computing
He told a quick story about how the next speaker wasn’t able to speak at last year’s event, but that they’re so excited about what he was working on, AMD was willing to adjust the AFDS schedule this year to accommodate. Manju Hedge then brought out Tom Malloy who runs the Advance Technology Labs at Adobe. Mr. Malloy went through a brief history of heterogeneous computing advancements at Adobe and moved on to some of the cool features in Photoshop CS6. Along with a partner running the demo machine, he showed PS’ Blur Gallery capabilities which leverage the GPU. Mr. Malloy then went on to talk about Adobe’s goals and model when designing the feature.

Tom Malloy, Advance Technology Labs director at Adobe

The next demo Malloy showed was the Real-Time Rendering capabilities of Adobe Premiere. With Premiere CS6, Adobe wanted to accelerate not only effects but the whole workflow. The demo had four HD videos all scaled and positioned so they could all have effects on them. He showed the new adjustment layer tool which allowed for the effects to alter all four videos in real-time, simultaneously, while the video was still playing. He continued to add other effects, all while the videos continued to play in real time, without skipping a beat. Mr. Malloy continued by noting the -Time Rendering technology of Adobe Premiere is enabled by leveraging the GPU.

Adobe (Cont.), HSA Roadmap

Malloy then went on to talk about the relationship between software and hardware developers and how he believes hardware vendors have gotten to a point where we now have a performance surplus and how software developers are leveraging that surplus. He continued on talking about the importance of certain architectures and the importance of having a unified address space.

Software and Hardware Considerations for Heterogeneous Computing

Next Malloy talked about software and platform considerations, and said that we need a higher level of abstractions than current platforms offer to attract more mainstream developers to heterogeneous computing. But he wasn’t sure what those abstractions should be.

Heterogonous System Architecture (HSA)
Phil Rogers AMD Corporate fellow then came out on stage to talk about the company’s Heterogonous System Architecture, or HSA. He drew some parallels between what AMD’s is doing with HSA and what Mr. Malloy wants to come to heterogeneous computing and said with HSA, AMD is bringing the platform to software developers.

Phil Rogers Talks HSA at AFDS '12

Mr. Rogers then went on to talk about the HSA roadmap. He outlined the physical integration that took place in 2011, but putting the CPU and GPU on the same silicon, with a unified memory controller and the optimizations that took place in 2012. He then mentioned that in 2013, some architectural integration will take place. There will be a unified address space for GPU and CPU, the GPU will use pageable system memory and CPU pointers, and explained that memory between the CPU and GPU will be fully coherent. The ultimate goal is to bring all of the processors in a system into unified, coherent memory.

Rogers’ presentation continued with some talk about the application areas with abundant parallel workloads. He talked about Natural UIs with touch, gesture, and voice, Biometric Recognition, and Augmented Reality, where graphics are superimposed and audio and other digital information is overlaid on an actual environment. He also talked about “content everywhere”, streaming media, and other areas that could benefit from heterogeneous processing.

Heterogeneous System Architecture Roadmap

The keynote continued with a facial recognition demo and some talk about how complex the algorithms are to actually detect a face in a HD image and the workloads associated with them. He then went on to talk about how in the vast majority of the test stages when doing facial recognition, a GPU has a huge performance advantage over a CPU, but that the CPU can be faster in some areas. The best solution is to leverage the GPU for some stages and the CPU for others, which is what heterogeneous computing is all about.

Introducing BOLT and HSA Foundation

Accelerating the cloud with Heterogeneous Computing

Next, Mr. Rogers moved on to a talk about the Memcached distributed memory object caching system for cloud computing environments and how heterogeneous computing can accelerate lookups. He showed how AMD’s APU can offer stronger performance than even discrete GPUs because of the vast amounts of data that need to be accessed. With discrete GPUs, the data has to first be loaded into frame buffer memory, but with APUs it does not.

Introducing Bolt Parallel Primitives Library for HSA

Introducing Bolt and the HSA Foundation
Rogers then introduced HSA Bolt, a parallel primitives library for HSA. He talked about AMD’s commitment to open standards and explained that the ultimate goal is to simplify coding software for heterogeneous computing. Rogers then went on to announce the HSA foundation, a nonprofit, open standardization body for HSA platforms. The initial list of companies founding the HSA Foundation includes AMD, ARM, Imagination Technologies, Media Tek, Texas Instruments,

Introducing the HSA Foundation

Jim Davies from ARM then came out on stage and talked about ARM’s commitment to heterogeneous computing. Krishna Yarlagadda from Imagination Technologies, K. Lawrence Log from Media Tek, Matthew Locke from TI, and Manju Hedge from AMD then came out and did the same.

That wraps up our Day 1 AMD Fusion Developers Summit coverage. Stay tuned for more details as we learn what else AMD has in store.

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