Nvidia’s Kirk: Larrabee is the GPU a CPU designer would build

We’ve heard Nvidia discuss its vision for the future extensively these past few weeks, the latest example being the company’s six-hour-long Financial Analyst Day conference earlier this month. Taking advantage of this talkativeness, the guys at bit-tech.net have spent some time with Nvidia Chief Scientist David Kirk, asking him about everything from CUDA‘s future to Intel’s Larrabee.

Interestingly, Kirk isn’t opposed to the idea of licensing CUDA to competitors like AMD. He told bit-tech.net, “We do take every opportunity to discuss the ability to run CUDA with anyone who’s interested. It’s not exactly an open standard, but there’s really not very much that is proprietary about it. . . . The pieces of the tools we build are made available to whoever is interested in using them.” Kirk also envisions a future where CUDA applications can run on both CPUs and GPUs, and “we can start adding GPUs or CPU cores to increase performance.”

On Larrabee, Intel’s discrete graphics processor project, Kirk said Nvidia sees it as “the GPU that a CPU designer would build, not the GPU you’d build if you were a GPU designer.” Kirk repeated Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang’s line that Larrabee is just a slide in a presentation, and slides tend to look perfect. “I’m not going to get into all of the details especially for Larrabee, but they’re missing some pretty important pieces about how a GPU works,” he added.

Kirk also talked a little bit about AMD, revealing a pessimistic view of the company’s future. “AMD has been declining because it hasn’t built a competitive graphics architecture for almost two years now—ever since the AMD/ATI merger. They’ve been pulling engineers [from the GPU teams] to Fusion, which integrates GPU technology onto the CPU. They have to do four things to survive, but I don’t think they have enough money to do one thing.”

Check out Kirk’s full interview at bit-tech.net for more details about CUDA, ray tracing, and the like.

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