Hardware accelerators for games seem to be the latest craze these days. After Ageia's PhysX physics accelerator and Bigfoot Networks' Killer NIC gaming network accelerator, a company called AIseek is promising an accelerator for artificial intelligence. Where PhysX allows physics interactions with a greater number of objects than software physics, AIseek says its Intia processor supports a greater number of intelligent non-playable characters than standard general-purpose processors.
To accomplish this feat, the Intia processor accelerates low-level AI tasks including movement, path-finding, terrain analysis, and line-of-sight sensory simulation. According to AIseek, Intia can run path-finding calculations 100-200 times faster than a standard processor running a software algorithm. Such speedups might not bring huge improvements to close-quarter first-person shooters akin to Doom 3, but AIseek says real-time strategy games and RPGs that often have many characters on-screen would greatly benefit from AI acceleration.
AIseek has a handful of demos of accelerated AI on its website, although they seem to be down right now. The site says nothing about a shipping product, so right now it's anyone's guess when or if the Intia processor will become available commercially. Thanks to HardOCP for the tip.
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