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Report from the GTC: Monday, April 4

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The GPU Technology Conference (GTC), sponsored and organized by NVIDIA, is now in it's 8th year. The conference is technology-focused with an emphasis on our graphics processing is both driving computer innovation and solving computer-related problems at the same time.

This year, the GTC is primarily focused on three areas of GPU technology:autonomous cars, deep learning and virtual reality (VR). All three areas have been intensely developed by NVIDIA and other companies, but have only recently become a part of public conversation and media coverage, thus heightening the popularity and importance of this year's conference.

Virtual Reality (VR) is everywhere it seems. With Oculus Rift shipping (finally) and other companies releasing their technology, virtual reality is not only an entertainment sensation, but a technical revolution as well. I'll be looking to cover the VR scene as much as possible here at the GTC.

Deep Learning is a much more technical subject and is hard to explain to the average computer user. Essentially, it has to do with a literal revolution in the algorithms used to process massive amounts of data. This new ability of machines to process high-level abstract data leads directly to increasingly impressive development of the autonomous car(and VR as well).

So, all three topics that the 2016 GTC is focused on are interrelated and increasingly important to not just the entertainment world, but to practically every other field where computers are used: medical, oil exploration, public safety, education and business are just a few examples.

Last year's GTC was an inspiring and mind-opening experience for me and I suspect I'll have a similar experience this year

Deep Learning

Monday, April 4
NVIDIA runs this conference flawlessly, so practically every aspect of the event (from the point of view of a press representative) is fast and untroubling. Checked in early and got my badge and goody-bag within 5 minutes. Thank you, NVIDIA, for the thoughtful fun stuff! The NVIDIA tote bag is perfect. Plus, everyone you encounter is friendly and helpful. This isn't always the case at conferences, so it's a welcome tone for the start of the day.

After going through the very well-designed GTC app, I chose several sessions to attend throughout the day with time in-between to wander the convention space and see posters, artworks, bookstore and MEET PEOPLE!

Sessions/Tutorials
I attended two morning sessions; one was on NVIDIA's MDL (material definition language) and how to share physically based materials between renderers. It was hosted by Jan Jordan and Lutz Kettner and was very information. Second, I attended an intro to Deep Learning by Stephen Jones which had a huge attendance (and rightly so). His presentation was outstanding and sent searching links all through lunch.

MDL

After lunch (provided by NVIDIA), I attended an extremely interesting session on Video Encoding on NVIDIA GPU's. This session was run by Abhijit Patait and Eric Young. Highly informative and well presented.

Drive PX
"NVIDIA's Deep Learning Car Computer - Drive PX" was probably my favorite of the day. Presented by Shri Sundaram, the product marketing manager for Drive PX, the session was fascinating. Peeling away the layers of Drive PX, it's clear this device and the hardware/software that makes it so effective is a masterpiece of engineering and the imagination. One walks away from this session feeling not only that autonomous cars are safer than generally accepted, but will very be commonplace in the near future.

My last session (a kind of tutorial) was "Give Life to Your 3D Art with MDL and NVIDIA Iray in Substance Painter". Overall, the presentation was informative and interesting with Manuel Kraemer covering the problem of materials/shaders in media for multiple platforms (surprisingly bad) and how MDL via Substance Painter helps to solve the problem. Jeremie Noguer presented the Substance Painter tutorial which was excellent. I left the session with tons of notes and a lot of research ahead of me.

On the way back to my hotel room, I stopped by the Bookstore and bought, "Super Intelligence" by Nick Bostrom (about the implications of superhuman artificial inteligence). This looks like a fascinating read

Rest and Research
After resting a bit, I was able to get out into the city and think about all of the information I received during the day. I've got a lot of notes to sort out which I will do later tonight

I hope I have enough energy for the Press reception which is the last event of a very busy day.


Links

GPU Technology Conference Website

GTC Facebook Page

NVIDIA YouTube Channel

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Tags: 
Autonomous Cars, Deep Learning, GPU, GTC Conference, NVIDIA, Virtual Reality
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