by Tony Kontzer

Everywhere one looks on the exhibit floor at the GPU Technology Conference, people are astounded at the way GPUs are being put to work. From powering 3D video and audio to providing the kinds of computing gains normally associated with virtualization, attendees are finding a world of new GPGPU applications, and vendors are enjoying the oohs and ahs.

GTC 2010

Rie Matsubara, a software engineer for Stereo 3D, which converts 2D video into 3D stereo video, found herself drawn to an eye-catching dome in the corner of the exhibition hall in which attendees could manipulate a molecular dynamics demo. It harkened Matsubara back to her 10 years working in the planetarium industry.

Rie Matsubara of Stereo D

Meanwhile, Jan Burianek found a demo of VisiSonics’ 3D sound capture and delivery system compelling, and was brainstorming ways to put it to use. VisiSonics’ system delivers 5 video streams and 64 audio streams from its proprietary camera, directly to the GPU, which made the setup possible.

Jan Burianek, left, of AV Media, with Adam O'Donovan, CTO of VisiSonics

Burianek, 3D specialist for AV Media, which creates presentations and audio-visual displays for clients in the Czech Republic, says VisiSonics’ breakthrough technology, which allows sound to be captured, mapped to its location, and then delivered to wherever is desired, could be used not only to add pizzazz to presentations, but might help the company bring more visitors to a client that runs a string of edutainment-oriented IQ parks languishing throughout the country.

“When you have something like this, you always attract people,” says Burianek. He added that the advances he’s seeing at this year’s show are magnitudes of order more advanced than what he saw last year, portending incredible advances in the coming years.

Amid all the flashy video and audio displays, there were also vendors busy demoing straightforward technology solutions. AMAX Information Technologies, for instance, was encountering a lot of interest in its custom-built GPU systems, which it sells largely to OEMs. Huy Pham, an AMAX account manager, said many university researchers were inquiring about the ability of GPUs to do the work of many servers and workstations. “They’re very interested in how GPUs can help their applications,” he said.

Based on Burianek’s assessment, if they like what they’re seeing now, just wait until next year.