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Week-end Edition - Day 2 & 3 - IFA International

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Mark

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Mark Papermaster Chief Technology Officer, AMD A Real Future For Virtual IFA Keynote by AMD CTO gives insights into the “new era” In this year’s IFA keynote, Mark Papermaster, Chief Technology Officer AMD gives unique insights into the new era of Virtual Reality: “Race to Reality - The Next Billionpeople Market Opportunity”. Indeed, VR and AR have “arrived”, but they’re still taking baby steps in many ways. We asked Mark what he thinks about the current scenario, and what brought us to this point… Virtual Reality is perhaps the most interesting in the near-term as it immerses us in an entirely computer-generated world. In fact, the ultimate goal of VR is to fully immerse the user and create a sense of “presence” that makes the virtual world seem just as real as the physical. VR took some time to develop, and the futuristic vision of the fictional sci-fi holodeck is still a decade or more in the future. But the technology, as compelling as it was back in the 1980s, was not ready for mass deployment. The headsets were bulky, with numerous straps and cables. And the experience, while amazing, was not sustainable for more than a few minutes at a time as the lag time between a user’s physical movement and what was seen in the headset often induced nausea. It took more than 30 years until 2015 with the full power of technology innovation at a Moore’s Law pace to improve the processing power and display technology to mostly eliminate the early cost and technical challenges of VR. Now it’s possible to have an excellent VR experience using a VR-capable PC or console along with a highresolution head-mounted-display (HMD) for in the neighborhood of a thousand dollars. Now that the experience is in the reach of many more consumers, initial content creation for VR will expand rapidly. The recent introductions of new graphics cards, headsets and software development kits provide the foundation for a growing ecosystem of applications. So you feel we are entering a “new era.” How satisfied are you with current examples of consumer-available solutions? Clearly, we are seeing a new era, what we call the Immersive Computing Era. It’s a great start, analogous to the first smartphones that were fully functional, but it wasn’t until the app stores arrived and created a fast development ecosystem that the number of consumer solutions truly accelerated. I am excited by the progress the industry made and where we are at this point in time. Today’s high-end VR hardware has addressed the performance challenges and truly “transports” you to a virtual space. New graphics technology eliminates the prior “lag” or latency challenges, and VR-supported graphics cards are becoming much more affordable. These advancements in high performance VR systems allow people to stay in the VR experience for much longer, and in a greater variety of applications. Today’s examples are just starting to show us what is possible. News reports are coming out with a VRready view, and the first game and entertainment applications are being released. AMD worked with a developer, and with input from curators of the Smithsonian Institute, created a cinematic VR experience called “First: The Story of Wilbur and Orville” and it was shown at an E3 video game conference. Viewers were able to experience presence at the moment of first flight, to walk around, pause, TODAY’S HIGH-END VR HARDWARE HAS ADDRESSED THE PERFORMANCE CHALLENGES AND TRULY “TRANSPORTS” YOU TO A VIRTUAL SPACE rewind, and witness the historic flight from different vantage points on the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, where it all began. What changes will we see over the next two to five years – in terms of general trends – and what does the time line look like for the development of devices and ideas/innovations? I see three key improvements occurring in the next two to five years: performance, mobility, and breadth of applications. Increasing performance will produce 28

faster responsiveness, higher visual resolution, and better engagement across the senses. The head-mounted displays for VR will become smaller and lighter. Exciting applications of augmented reality where the images of the real world and virtual world can be overlaid in a fully immersive environment will emerge. The next several years will focus on improving the hardware and building software applications. The applications will extend well beyond the initial emphasis on gaming and will cover an array of uses. Reality of VR What is AMD doing to prepare for this? The needed immersive experiences are very much dependent on fast, energy-efficient compute processors, the central processing units (CPUs) that are the brains of computers. High resolution displays with fast refresh rates and stunning colors are the twin requirements. We’re a leader in the industry on both fronts as can be seen with our recent announcement of Polaris architecture graphics cards. One of those, the Radeon RX 480 that launched this summer, is VR-capable and available starting at only 9 USD. That’s well below the cost of earlier VR-capable graphics cards, making this easily the most affordable solution for premium PC-based VR experiences today. We call this the democratization of VR since previously a VR-ready PC was pretty expensive. This will help to drive interest in VR and expand the base of users. That, in turn, will spur content developers, whether for gaming or other applications, creating a virtuous cycle of development and growth. AMD has a new high performance CPU core named “Zen” coming to market in 2017 that is designed to take on high compute applications like VR. It’s not only hardware where we are making a contribution. AMD is focused on providing the software tools that content developers need to create stunning, immersive experiences. For example, the AMD LiquidVR software development kit enables developers to create beautifully rich and immersive VR experiences by simplifying and optimizing VR content creation, unlocking many unique AMD hardware features designed to work seamlessly with VR headsets. LiquidVR is part of our GPUOpen initiative, meaning that it’s open source and available to use free of charge. We’re big believers in open source software as it is another form of democratization, allowing an entire community to innovate for the benefit of all instead of keeping it proprietary and limited within the constructs of a single company. How important will these developments be when it comes to affecting peoples’ lives? I’ve been through a lot of transition in this industry in my 30 years as an engineer, and seen some amazing and life-changing products. I have to say that I have never been more excited than now as we ponder the opportunities directly in front of us. Accelerating gains in technology are rapidly blurring the boundaries between reality and the virtual world. The building blocks are all there. In this next era, networked connections among people, processes, data and things will dramatically change how we interact with people and technology. We’ve already seen virtual teleconferences where remote participants appear and largely feel as if they are in the same room. We will be immersed in computational power and intelligence. There is no end to the applications that can be re-made with the application of VR and AR technology. Which sectors will be affected the most? Can you give some examples? Sectors that will use VR will range from immersive journalism to education, entertainment, medicine, retail, fashion, automotive and many more – VR has the potential to touch nearly every industry. There’s a unique ground-floor opportunity for VR content creators. These next years will see tremendous growth of these applications, some of which will probably drive significant commercial disruption. VR is enabling researchers to gain a better understanding of the possible treatments needed for brain illness or injury. General Electric is utilizing AMD technology in their Neuro VR Experience, where GE scientists have created a VR experience showing a virtual portal into the human brain, enabling a user to enter, view, and explore the brain in ways never before possible. What will be some of the main “takeaways” people might expect from your presentation? I hope people will take away an understanding that we live in a time when technical frontiers are being pushed faster and further than ever. It’s sometimes difficult to see it when in the midst of such change, but virtual and augmented reality will disrupt many industries. It will take some years to fully develop, but my hope is that we will share a glimpse of how this technology will fundamentally change the way that we can use technology in our work and play. The VR ecosystem is being built from the ground up and anyone can participate in its creation. Hopefully this conversation spurs more thinking as to the next disruptive, industryshifting application of VR to create new experiences and solutions! MARK PAPERMASTER JOINED AMD ALMOST FIVE YEARS AGO AS CTO AND SENIOR VP OF TECHNOLOGY AND ENGINEERING A former customer of AMD, he knew of the company’s deep technical talent and his AMD role has given him the opportunity to set the technical direction for the company, re-invigorate the CPU and graphics technology, and the engineering processes to put it all together. As CTO, he also has the opportunity to constantly interact with customers, as well as the AMD engineers. “It has been great to see the strategy coming to fruition with our new products, said Papermaster. “AMD is in a unique position to set the pace and direction of both computing and graphics. This really excites me and I’m fortunate enough to have the role of helping to accelerate change in the industry moving forward, along with driving new technology to market with our exciting products” IFA KEYNOTE Saturday 3 rd September 2016 CityCube Berlin, Hall A - Level 1 1:00 pm I HOPE PEOPLE WILL TAKE AWAY AN UNDERSTANDING THAT WE LIVE IN A TIME WHEN TECHNICAL FRONTIERS ARE BEING PUSHED FASTER AND FURTHER THAN EVER www.ifa-international.org IFA International • Saturday 3 th & Sunday 4 th September 2016 29

IFA International