Monday, August 18, 2008

Beyond Programmable Shading

I was on SIGGRAPH to attend the "Beyond Programmable Shading" day. I spent the whole morning there and left during the last talk in the morning.
Here is the URL for the Larrabee day:

The talks are quite inspiring. I was hoping to see actual Larrabee hardware in action but they did not have any.
I liked Chas Boyd's DirectX 11 talk because he made it clear that there are different software designs for different applications and having looked into DirectX 11 now for a while it seems like there is a great API coming up soon that solves some of the outstanding issues we had with DirectX9 (DirectX 10 will be probably skipped by many in the industry).

The other thing that impressed me is AMD's CAL. The source code looks very elegant for the amount of performance you can unlock with it. Together with Brook+ it lets you control a huge number of cards. It seems like Cuda will be able to easier handle many GPUs at once soon too. PostFX are a good candidate for those APIs. CAL and CUDA can live in harmony with DirectX9/10 and DirectX 11 will even have a compute shader model that is the equivalent to CAL and CUDA. Compute shaders are written in HLSL … so a consistent environment.