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NVISION 2008: Conference WrapUp

nvisionI’m finally home from my first journey to the NVIDIA NVISION conference.  Frankly, I have mixed reviews.  First and foremost, to those readers at NVIDIA.  Please ask Jen-Hsun Huang to hire an outside conference management firm.  The logistics for the conference were far from smooth.  However, since this is your first conference NVIDIA, I’ll give you a free pass.

Aside from logistics, the research tracks went quite well.  The presentations covered everything from climate science, astrophysics and bioinformatics.  I was quite impressed by the level of detail the presenters dove into during their sessions.  I tip my hat to those who were brave enough to stand up and speak about what is largely an untested and undocumented programming paradigm.  I could only imagine the countless hours that UIUC spent breaking ground on profiling their codes.

I also had the pleasure of sitting in on two CUDA programming courses taught by the core development team at NVIDIA.  This was terribly helpful for many folks in the audience.  I think quite a few people in the audience were still a bit cloudy on exactly how to port their compute kernels to CUDA.  The development courses laid out a very simple thought process for doing so.  Think of a CUDA-enabled GPU as a hardware accelerated loop-unrolling mechanism.  Find the points in your compute kernel where heavy loop unrolling is taking place.  In most cases, these micro-kernels can be unrolled into parallel threads on the GPU quite easily.  Simple, right?

The latter of the courses also brought to light something I was not currently aware of.  This is the ability to transfer CUDA device memory buffers to and from OpenGL texture and frame buffers.  Ooooo… sounds neat!  I won’t go into great detail on this, you’ll simply have to read the docs!

Overall, the conference was a good event to attend.  The gamers are an interesting flock to watch wander through the hallways.  36 straights hour of WoW can do interesting things to one’s brain.  Logistics aside, I think NVIDIA had a successful event.

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