FiringSquad got in touch with NVIDIA recently to chat about its acquisition of PhysX designer AGEIA. I found it a curious decision, considering NVIDIA's GPUs support Havok's hardware-accelerated physics implementation, not to mention PhysX hasn't exactly taken the world by storm.
Now it looks like NVIDIA's plans for AGEIA's technology aren't just games-related.
You can head on over to FiringSquad for the entire interview, however, here's the meatiest part of the short talk:
Second, the computer industry is moving towards a heterogeneous computing model, combining a flexible CPU and a massively parallel processor like the GPU to perform computationally intensive applications like real-time computer graphics. Physics is a natural for processing on the GPU because, like graphics, it is made up of thousands of parallel computations, and with our CUDA technology, which is rapidly becoming one of the most pervasive parallel computing programming environments in history, we can open this exciting parallel processing world to applications desperate for a giant step in computing performance—such as physics processing, computer vision, video/image processing, and a world of exciting applications we’ve not yet imagined.
What I'm getting from this is that NVIDIA isn't so much interested in AGEIA for hardware-accelerated physics in games, but more what the massively parallel design of the hardware can be used for in certain general processing tasks. This is something AGEIA's PPU and the GPU have in common.
Is NVIDIA looking to take on Intel and AMD? There's definitely a place for this sort of hardware in specialised markets.
NVIDIA AGEIA PhysX Acquisition Interview [FiringSquad]