August 13, 2008 | Computer Graphics | By: Mark VandeWettering

Well, I’m sitting at The Standard (a frankly far too chic hotel for a forty something computer geek like myself), it’s not quite 7 A.M. and I spent my first day at SIGGRAPH. I’m hear mostly for the benefit of recruiting: sitting in the booth, answering questions and showing up at our Pixar User’s Group Meeting. We are handing out 20th anniversary Renderman walking teapots: very nice, I managed to get one for Josh, but haven’t picked up one of my own: I’ll try to later and get a picture here.

I’m not really attending papers (you can get links here) but there seems to be quite a bit of buzz about Intel’s Larrabee architecture. Broadly speaking, the trend of GPUs has been to slowly work to expand both the number and capability of the different functional units: more shader units, that can execute more arbitrary code, and more texture units, which can present results which are available to more units. Larrabee leapfrogs this: we are back to having X86 cores (not my favorite architecture, but ubiquitous) which are fully general, linked together by a fast shared cache with scheduling done in software. To me, this represents the obvious end game to the evolution of GPUs. Companies like nVidia have been trying to tell us that we can use GPUs to do more general computation: Intel has delivered an architecture where that claim is much more obviously true.

Oh well, I’m gonna get some pancakes at IHOP, then walk the show floor a bit. I want to try to see what the state of the art in stereo monitors is, and maybe see who I can bump into. I’ve got booth duty again at 1:30 (more teapots handed out at 2:00) and then the User’s Group meeting at 6:30. If any readers are at SIGGRAPH, feel free to come by the booth and say hi.


Comment from Josh Bancroft
Time 8/15/2008 at 11:18 am

It was great to finally meet you in person, Mark, and THANK YOU for the awesome RenderMan teapot. You were so generous to give me your own, and it’s definitely the coolest thing I’ve ever received at a conference. 🙂

Next time we run into each other, I’ll try to get you some good Intel schwag. I don’t think they ever give out, say quad core chips, as schwag, but I’ll find you something nice. 🙂