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[In this Intel-sponsored feature, Randi Rost, Intel's External Relations Manager, Graphics, talks at length of higher education and new graphics architectures.]
How do technology ideas propagate through the world at large and somehow become real? What does it take to capture the imaginations and talents of the students and researchers in universities worldwide and engage them in exploring and using a new graphics architecture?
These questions occurred to me recently while thinking about Intel's new graphics architectures. Years ago, British biologist Lyall Watson postulated the Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon after observing that once a group of monkeys on a remote island learned how to wash their potatoes in water, monkeys on nearby islands were soon observed doing the same thing. Watson speculated that maybe there was a group consciousness that somehow percolated across vast distances among members of the same species.
If such forces could be applied to transferring the technological skills involved in graphics processing, Randi Rost would be out of a job.
Randi, an experienced computer graphics professional at Intel, is responsible for getting the word out about new Intel graphics architectures. He finds ways to reach university students, educate and inform researchers, engage ISVs and developers, and, generally, prepare the ecosystem for Intel's next-generation graphics architecture.
My curiosity piqued, I talked with Randi about his thoughts on the potential for visual computing on next-generation graphics architectures and the ways that Intel is helping build software engineering expertise in this area. Randi discussed the many ways he and Intel are trying to make the learning curve less steep.
How long have you been involved in computer graphics?
RR: I discovered my passion for computer technology as a sophomore in high school. In the mid-70s, Minnesota became the first state to have a statewide computing network linking all the universities and secondary schools.
I discovered my passion for graphics when I bought myself an Apple II computer during my first year of college. I went to graduate school to study computer graphics specifically, and I've always pursued jobs that have been connected to this creative and fascinating field. I've worked at startups and at big companies like DEC and HP, always looking for the spots where interesting work was being done in computer graphics.
How did you get started with Intel?
RR: The day after our high-end graphics development team at 3D Labs was laid off, Intel arrived to discuss an upcoming project involving major advances in graphics processing. It didn't take very long to see that Intel was doing something that was going to really change the industry. I'm not just saying that because it's a tagline, but given my background in the computer graphics industry, it was clear that Intel had a very compelling story with this new graphics architecture.
What kind of work is your group engaged in at Intel?
RR: Our group is the primary development team for software development tools being created for Intel's newest graphics architecture. We work very closely with the Intel teams that provide the drivers and hardware. We also work very closely with other groups within Intel, such as the Intel University Program and the Intel Software College.