Graphics Cards Will Accelerate AI in Games

So say Nvidia and ATI

By on January 22nd, 2009 08:33 GMT
Technology is progressing at an amazing pace these days, with engineers working to develop new things and to use existing hardware to fulfill new tasks. Such is the case with graphics boards, which, although at the beginning handled only graphics, as their name implies, have begun to fulfill a greater role, with Nvidia doing physics processing on its existing high-end cards.

But it seems that physics processing won't be the only thing that the GPUs on the graphics cards will be handling, as representatives from the two big video card manufacturers, Nvidia and ATI, the latter being now owned by AMD, have talked with CustomPC about the fact that in the very near future, GPGPUs will handle the AI (Artificial Intelligence) aspect of games. The two companies say that they are already in heavy talks and negotiations with various game developers and middleware manufacturers in order to make this endeavor as feasible as possible.

“Our recent research into AI suggests that it’s not uncommon for gaming AI to spend more than 90 per cent of its time resolving these two simple questions,” says Richard Huddy, AMD developer relations manager. He adds that these two queries are “almost perfect for GPU implementation,” because they “make excellent use of the GPU’s inherently parallel architecture and are typically not memory-bound.”

It also seems that the implementation of technology is very far away, as the work that needs to be done in order to accelerate the AI via the graphics cards isn't very advanced. Nadeem Mohammad, Nvidia’s director of product management for PhysX, says that “I don’t expect it before 12 months, but I would definitely expect it within 18.”

Such a possibility has already been commented by Chris Jurney, a senior programmer for the upcoming Dawn of War II, who believes that it will be a great thing for games if such a technology is implemented. But he also goes to warn us that, because of the different technologies implemented by the two large producers, CUDA with Nvidia and Stream with AMD, the resulting AI behavior can be different from one PC to another, which will influence multiplayer matches.

All in all, it seems that graphics cards are getting an even bigger role as technology progresses, so let's hope that Nvidia and AMD will soon start to implement such a thing and that our CPUs will have one less thing to process and that we will be able to enjoy a great gaming experience.

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