Cloud Computing's Killer App: Gaming

AMD's proposed online supercomputer will handle gaming graphics so your cellphone won't have to

3 min read

In recognition of the huge importance of graphics and gaming to the future of computing, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), of Sunnyvale, Calif., is building the fastest commercial supercomputer in the world and selling its use to makers of online games. When it’s ready, in the second half of 2009, it will manage a thousand million million floating-point operations per second—a petaflop. That will put it on a par with Roadrunner, the U.S. Department of Energy’s most powerful machine.

The idea is to compute a game’s graphics, compress them, and send them out over the Internet so that online gamers can run the results on platforms, such as cellphones, that are too computationally puny to render the graphics on their own. Game makers would write their software for the supercomputer—rather than for a PC, smart phone, or other platform—and then rent computer time and bandwidth on AMD’s machine. It’s a particularly striking example of the shift in the balance of power away from the platform and into the network, or cloud—hence the computer’s name, the Fusion Render Cloud.

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The Spectacular Collapse of CryptoKitties, the First Big Blockchain Game

A cautionary tale of NFTs, Ethereum, and cryptocurrency security

8 min read
Vertical
Mountains and cresting waves made of cartoon cats and large green coins.
Frank Stockton
Pink

On 4 September 2018, someone known only as Rabono bought an angry cartoon cat named Dragon for 600 ether—an amount of Ethereum cryptocurrency worth about US $170,000 at the time, or $745,000 at the cryptocurrency’s value in July 2022.

It was by far the highest transaction yet for a nonfungible token (NFT), the then-new concept of a unique digital asset. And it was a headline-grabbing opportunity for CryptoKitties, the world’s first blockchain gaming hit. But the sky-high transaction obscured a more difficult truth: CryptoKitties was dying, and it had been for some time.

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