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Advances made in graphics processing represent "the most radically innovative technology in computing over the past 10 years" and the rise of smart phones is "the second personal computing revolution," according to Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang.
Jen-Hsun, kicking off the inaugural NVISION visual computing conference Monday with a lengthy keynote that incorporated demos of cutting edge graphics technology and a chat with Battlestar Galactica star Tricia Helfer, added that "in Moore's Law terms, what we've done with GPUs is extraordinary."
It would not be the last poke at Intel during the course of Jen-Hsun's two-and-a-half hour presentation and an additional 45 minutes spent with reporters following the keynote.
NVISION is being held in San Jose, Calif. at a number of venues through Wednesday. Jen-Hsun said in a post-keynote interview session with media that the Santa Clara, Calif.-based graphics chip maker would not be releasing product news at the event, which it intended to be a celebration of visual computing writ large rather than a showcase for Nvidia alone.
"Few technologies have made the leaps that the GPU has over the past 10 years. Years ago, the GPU was really just an accelerator, an application-specific integrated circuit. Now it's a general purpose parallel computing processor," said Jen-Hsun, who is also president and co-founder of Nvidia.
"When I got started in my career in 1984, a Cray X-MP cost $1 million," he said, noting that today's GPUs cost just a few hundred dollars and "their computational capability has reached into the Teraflops, or 1,000 Cray X-MPs."
Meanwhile, smart phones represent the single most important category in computing today, according to the Nvidia boss. Asked about Nvidia's "mobile strategy," Jen-Hsun said Nvidia was "completely focused on Windows Mobile 7."
"Focusing on smart phones. That's our strategy," he said.
Nvidia's specific goals vis-'-vis smart phones include building GeForce platforms for the devices, reversing the current smart phone paradigm of "phone first, computer second," and working with low-power CPU maker VIA to optimize Nvidia products for the Taiwanese chip maker's hardware.
"We're so excited about VIA, we're optimizing our entire software stack for [new VIA CPU] Nano," Jen-Hsun said, noting that Nvidia has only done that for two other chip companies, presumably Intel and AMD.