Gaming AI to move to graphics cards

Nvidia and ATI graphics cards to handle AI from 2010
Nvidia and ATI graphics cards to handle AI from 2010

Graphics cards are set to handle artificial intelligence (AI) processing in 2010, according to the latest news from Nvidia and AMD.

The companies revealed that they are working on GPGPU-accelerated AI in games, and gamers might see the first results as early as 2010.

Nvidia and AMD are working with games and middleware developers to take the most common AI routines - 90 per cent of the time these perform simple visibility and path finding queries – away from the CPU and across to the graphics card to process instead.

Competing solutions?

Nvidia's Director of Product Management for PhysX, Nadeem Mohammad told Custom PC that: "You can always imagine CUDA as loads of processors running the same program but not the same instruction, and ideally on the same data set but with different input parameters,'

"So, in the context of AI, the data set consists of the whole game world, and the parameters going into it are the individual bots – that's one way of neatly parallelising the problem. If you look at it in that context then any AI program could be accelerated."

An AMD rep added that: "some middleware providers are looking at this in terms of packaging up a GPU AI library for games, while some developers are looking to transfer their own existing AI code from CPU to GPU."

The only potential problem, as Kotaku so neatly sums up, "is whether ATI and Nvidia would bother to actually standardise this, or whether we'd end up with two competing solutions that would split the developer community and make the whole thing a royal pain in the ass."

Adam Hartley