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.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
Vertical
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
DarkBlue1

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":["31996907"]}