Supercomputers are deployed around the world for a myriad of scientific and academic research; the supercomputer AMD plans to build will be used for games.
The chipmaker is teaming up with content developer OTOY to develop and deploy applications, high-definition (HD) content and even games in the cloud using a massively-parallel supercomputer.
Details of the AMD Fusion Render Cloud were unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas during a keynote by AMD president and chief executive Dirk Meyer, along with OTOY chief executive Jules Urbach and spokespeople from Lucasfilm, Dell, HP and Electronic Arts.
AMD has a long track record in the supercomputing world. Seven out of 10 of the world's fastest machines, including the fastest two computers on the planet, are powered by AMD hardware, said Meyer.
Today, AMD is pleased to announce a new kind of supercomputer unlike any other ever built. It is being designed to break the one petaflop barrier, and to process a million compute threads across more than 1,000 graphics processors.
Meyer claimed that the AMD Fusion Render Cloud will be the fastest graphics supercomputer ever built, and will be ready in the latter half of 2009.
It will be powered by OTOY's software for a singular purpose: to make HD cloud computing a reality, he added.
The system aims to use server-side rendering to allow content providers to deliver PC applications, video games and other graphics-intensive applications to virtually any type of mobile device with a web browser, without killing battery life and alleviating the need for powerful client-side processors.
Once rendered and stored in this cloud environment, the data can be compressed and streamed in real time over a wireless or broadband connection to devices such as smartphones, set-top boxes and ultra-thin notebooks.
By fusing industry leading CPU technology with computationally dense, massively parallel graphics processors, the AMD Fusion Render Cloud can rival the world's most powerful industrial computing devices, but requires just a fraction of the floor space, power envelope and cost associated with many of today's leading supercomputers, said Urbach.
The AMD Fusion Render Cloud will be powered by AMD-optimised hardware including the newly announced AMD Phenom II processors, AMD 790 chipsets and ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics processors, while OTOY will provide technical software development and a middleware layer.
The AMD Fusion Render Cloud will allow directors like Robert Rodriguez of Troublemaker Studios to break through existing CPU-only and graphics processor-only render bottlenecks which have imposed limitations on the creation of true HD assets, said Charlie Boswell, director of digital media and entertainment at AMD.
Imagine watching a movie halfway through on your cellphone while on the bus home, then switching over to your HD TV and continuing to watch the same movie from exactly where you left off, seamlessly and at full-screen resolution.
Imagine playing the most visually intensive first-person shooter game at the highest image quality settings on your cellphone without ever having to download and install the software, or use up valuable storage space or battery life with compute-intensive tasks.
Those are just some of the experiences that AMD and OTOY plan to make possible with HD cloud computing of visually rich entertainment content.