Feeds

Nvidia boss: cloud, ¡Si! Intel, ¡No!

The times they are a-changin' — big time

Remote control for virtualized desktops

GTC Nvidia chief exec Jen-Hsun Huang sees the computer industry on the cusp of radical changes. And with his company now about 65 per cent devoted to parallel computing, you can easily guess which technology he believes will drive that transformation — and which company he believes will lose.

"Whatever capability you think you have today, it's nothing compared to what you're going to have in a couple years," he told the assembled multitude at a "Fireside Chat" Thursday morning at the GPU Technology Conference in San José, California.

That capability will be provided by parallel computing — or, as he told his keynote audience on Tuesday, "parallel computing, GPU computing, accelerated computing, heterogeneous computing — however you guys want to describe it."

Key to the transformation, in Huang's view, will be supercomputers up in the cloud, responding to queries from personal clients.

Although "cloud" is the buzzword du jour, in Huang's view you ain't seen nothing yet. "If you look at [users'] current experience of a cloud, they think it's pretty cool — but that's just an application that would run very naturally on a PC, done in the cloud," he said.

That's all well and good, but it's only the beginning. "We need to take that one step further, which is something you can't do at all on a PC is now possible in your PC or in your tablet or in your cellphone, because it's done in the cloud."

Giving all users access to HPC-class compute power won't be possible until the price-per-flop of those beasts drops — but Huang had an answer at the ready when asked what the price of a supercomputer might be in five or ten years. "One answer is: same. It'll just be 100 times faster." That is, he explained, two orders of magnitude faster than a Tesla-based HPC machine of today.

But in a dig at traditional CPU-based HPC boxes, he added: "Relative to a cluster of CPUs, call it somewhere between a thousand, to 20, to 40 thousand times faster."

The other answer to "how much will it cost?" — cheaper but more-powerful machines — launched Huang into a flight of fancy concerning personal supercomputers: "Whatever roomful of supercomputers you're currently counting on, in 10 years' time you'll put it on a head-mounted display and take it into the field with you, because it's inside a Tegra," he fantasized.

He even had a productization idea. "I can't wait to see what a binocular is going to look like in 10 years. The combination between the kind of sensors we'll have and the type of computational capability we'll have, and its connection to the cloud — a binocular in 10 years is going to be some freaky device."

Huang's vision — no pun intended — is not merely that of supercomputers on your head, but of devices seamlessly intercommunicating, with HPC cloud clout being made available to mere mortals. He did, however, temper his enthusiasm a bit by admitting that "the computational resource is nearly infinite, but the bandwidth hasn't really changed."

When asked if the distinction between HPC boxes, high-performance workstations, and end-user devices will even matter in his interconnected future, Huang answered: "There's no question that it won't matter anymore."

Elaborating, he said: "The type of computing that you would otherwise need to do locally [will move] onto the cloud. I think the separation between a mobile device, a tablet, a PC, and a supercomputer will be nonexistant, because they will obviously be connected."

Such a topology is the undiscovered country. "The really magical and incomprehensible experiences that consumers will have as a result of a supercomputer literally in their hands," Huang mused, "I don't think most of them understand that yet."

And from Huang's point of view, parallel computing is just about ready to provide those "incomprehensible experiences", as the software-development world is coming over to GPUville. The first couple of years of GPU computing, he said, was about getting people used to the fact that there could be a new type of computing architecture that could make much of general purpose computation "twenty times faster."

Today, he says, "They now understand the technology at a deep enough level that they go: 'You know what? I believe it. But not only that, but it's perfectly obvious to me. I understand it, and now I get it. And I don't understand why everything isn't that way now.'

"And so now were in that phase," he said. "Everybody's now asking the question: 'Why isn't that parallel? Why isn't that parallel? Why isn't that parallel?' It's no different than us walking up to a car and saying 'Why isn't that a hybrid? Why isn't that a hybrid?'"

Nvidia's co-founder is not lacking in confidence — at least in front of an assembly of customers, developers, analysts, and the press.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
DEATH by COMMENTS: WordPress XSS vuln is BIGGEST for YEARS
Trio of XSS turns attackers into admins
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.