Thursday, August 18, 2005

New idea - Physics processor

[see previous]

Any PC today that is set up for serious gaming has a high-power CPU along with a high-power GPU on the graphics card. In many cases the GPU is more powerful than the CPU in terms of raw mathematical horsepower.

This article describes a new architecture for handling physics computations in games. It uses a separate hardware physics processor:

AGEIA Technology

The physics processor deals with everything from collision detection to the physics of hair and clothing simulation.

In the future, will your machine have a CPU, a GPU and a PPU?

From the article: "AGEIA physX Processor is the world's first physics processor, an entirely new category of technology that promises to transform gaming. By offloading software physics processing from the CPU and GPU, AGEIA's physX Processor completes the triangle of game function, graphics and interactive real-time environments from physics computing, balancing the load of these processing tasks and enabling incredible realism in tomorrow's games.

AGEIA physX Processor Architecture has been designed to enable radical acceleration of:See also The Dream Machine.

Beyond gaming, I could see a Physics Processor being used in engineering applications.

Car designers could simulate crashes through hardware instead of software. This could speed up the simulation and test out many different situations. Architects could send a hurricane onto a virtual house...

Of course I'd by it for the games to blow up stuff... ;)

How do you get game developers to use the new PPU? They can't even get their arms around multi-core chips right now.
Interesting, but it would have to be very generic (haven't read the article).

The NES had a PPU, though... it was a Picture Processing Unit ;-)
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