AMD Announces Conference Focused on The Future of OpenCL, Llano

AMD is hosting its first AMD Fusion Developer Summit (AFDS) this year, from June 13-16. The conference will focus on OpenCL and Llano's performance capabilities under various related usage models. Sunnyvale is billing the event as a chance to participate and learn from experts, all in accordance with the company's belief that: "the computing industry is quietly undergoing a revolution bigger than any change it has seen since the semiconductor was first introduced: the rise of GPUs and APUs."

Llano's die (rotated 90, in this case. The DX11 cores are to the left and occupy a significant chunk of the die overall.
One interesting twist is that the keynote address will be given by Jem Davies, currently ARM's VP of technology. To date, AMD's efforts to push OpenCL as a programming environment have been limited, particularly compared to the work NV has sunk into CUDA. With its profit margins and sales figures improving, AMD is apparently turning back to address the situation—and ARM's a natural ally, if not quite a partner.

The attraction of OpenCL is that it can potentially be used to improve handheld device performance and simultaneously consume less power. AMD's explicit mention of ARM hints that there might be more than meets the eye to this conference, but that's far from certain.

Existing and already-scheduled talks include: "AMD and Multicoreaware Team to Help Developers Optimize the Use of OpenCL For AMD Fusion APUs and "AMD Announces Thought Leaders From ARM and Microsoft to Be Among Keynote Speakers At AMD Fusion Developer Summit." Again, see the not-so-subtle Llano focus? Again, we're hoping the impact here is more meaningful than simply filling a few summit ballrooms; Llano needs to be able to take full advantage of its GPU/CPU heritage to have a hope of competing with Intel's 32nm Sandy Bridge products.

ARM's licensing structure means that an AMD alliance would give the company additional IP blocks to license, but wouldn't translate into an ARM+Radeon design unless other companies specifically chose to create one. Similarly, AMD could grab itself an ARM license, but it's not clear that the company has the additional resources to fuel ARM APU development competively.

Our hope is that this announcement heralds a greater range of application support. AMD has lagged NV enormously when it comes to gaming or general application performance. The tenor of the company's statements suggests that this will change with the arrival of Llano; we look forward to reaping the rewards.