Think Computational Visualization, Realize it with Quadro Fermi, Exponentially Better

By ANAND GURNANI | 27 July, 2010 - 14:55

Technology companies launching new advanced generations of their technology is like evolution, a constant process and hence a given. But ever once in a while, each product leaps beyond its pace of incremental growth and exponentially expands into a new phase of its development. "That" share the folks from NVIDA, "has happened with the QUADRO. We are entering into a new era - the epoch of computational visualization", shared Jeff Brown, GM of NVIDIA‘s Professional Solutions Group at a QUADRO technology editorial preview at the NVIDIA headquarters in Santa Clara where was invited last month. The new range of QUADRO has been just launched at SIGGRAPH 2010 being held in Los Angeles as we go to press with this news.

The new Quadro Family just launched includes the Quadro 4000 (2 gb 256 cores), Quadro 5000 (2.5 GB 352 Cores) and Quadro 6000 (6GB 448 Cores). The technology now boasts capability to handle 5 times more design complexity! 8 times more simulation performance! a 6GB frame buffer that can also double up as a cache, an SLI Mosaic that helps put more quadros onto a system, it also now offers double precision floating point calculations, ECC memory for mission critical computation and in terms of addressing geometry the capability of handling more than 2 Billion Polys.

So what does all this great technological advance translate into for the animation digital content space?

Speaking to Danny Shapiro, director of marketing, Quadro business unit, Professional Solutions Group, NVIDIA shared that "The new Quadro solutions based on the Fermi architecture will offer dramatically faster 3D graphics performance, coupled with the ability to perform computational simulation. For animators and designers, this means greater interactivity and the ability to generate models and scenes that are much more complex and detailed. The result is a higher level of quality in the final result."

"For animators and artists that spend their day working with 3D applications, they will have the ability to iterate faster and experiment with different designs and effects. When a director asks for variations on a theme, it won‘t be an overnight wait, but rather something that can be processed and changed many times a day." he added.

Explaining the evolution of the Quadro, of computational visualization and physical realism and how all of it also accelerates the production pipeline, Shapiro pointed out that, "Computational visualization is the ability to combine sophisticated rendering with the ability to perform physical simulation. Hence the ability to quickly render models and scenes that behave just like real world phenomena, leads to greater realism. The power of NVIDIA GPUs and in particular the new Quadro family based on the Fermi architecture integrate advanced capabilities to address both sophisticated rendering and ray tracing, as well as high performance computing. Fluid simulations or rigid body dynamics can be computed in real time on the GPU, and then rendered, greatly accelerating the animators production pipeline."

At the Quadro roundtable, NVIDIA also shared that the line up includes the Quadro 5000 for Mobile Workstations which will make them the fastest mobile workstations in the world and to put it in Nvidia‘s words, "will change the way that a lot of professionals work in the field". A host of application developers and companies also previewed some of their latest developments that were powered and made possible in sync with the Quadro‘s new quantum leap. These included Adobe, Mental Images, The Foundry, Bunkspeed, RTT, Motion DSP, Siemens and Cyberheart amongst others. While the spectrum of verticals covered was broad and wide, covering Automotive, Defense, Medical, Entertainment, CGI the converging point was computational visualization.

"NVIDIA is working closely with all major professional application developers. We have already seen huge performance gains in Adobe software, as CS5 heavily leverages CUDA and the parallel processing capabilities of NVIDIA GPUs. Bunkspeed SHOT is a design and styling application to use GPUs for interactive ray tracing and incredible realism. The Foundry is utilizing CUDA and NVIDIA processors to achieve phenomenal speeds up for their software. Moving forward, we expect many more developers in both the content creation space, as well as CAD, medical imaging and energy exploration to follow suit." shared Shapiro.

Talking about how studios further collaborate with NVIDIA‘s application engineers to add even more graphics tech power, Shapiro shared, "ILM has implemented a number of performance tuned workflows into their pipeline. In Harry Potter 6, NVIDIA Quadro GPUs were utilized in the creation of the directable fire. This technique utilized OpenGL to access the GPGPU power of the processor. For The Last Airbender, this technique was further expanded to take advantage of CUDA to perform full particle simulations for dust storms, air bending and fire." would like to term this new era heralded by stunning developments such as these as the era of RealTime Realism.

And with more than 175 applications built around it, with specialized hardware, with application engineers, with AXE (Application Acceleration Engines) all elements add to Quadro being a veritable platform that is at the heart of this Realtime Realism Revolution!