Entertainment, Graphics

AMD Prepares to Demonstrate Holodeck on E3 2011

Back on Easter 2004, ATI gathered journalists in their HQ in Markham, Ontario for the ATI Radeon X800 Series launch. While I met with multiple executives and discussed variety of technology trends, there was one topic that accidently mentioned in two unconnected discussions with the visionary Joe Macri (person behind GDDR3, GDDR4 and GDDR5 memory) and Godfrey Cheng: Holodeck.

Holodeck set used in Star Trek: Voyager
Holodeck set used in Star Trek: Voyager

That’s right, a virtual environment in which humans move and interact with the computed elements, made popular by the legendary Star Trek franchise. First appearing in Star Trek: The Animated Series, holodeck became very popular in Star Trek: The Next Generation, when authors used Holodeck from time to time in order to reduce the production budget and record scenes set in Earthly-themed environments (or other sets at Paramount studios).

The topic of Holodeck was briefly mentioned in March 2006 and September 2009, when we met with Carrell R Killebrew, a brilliant engineer that pushed and shoved then AMD’s engineering teams and execs in order to make multi-display Eyefinity technology – a reality.

Through creating a high-bandwidth memory interface directly driven by the GPU (GDDR5) and enabling multiple displays being driven by a single card, AMD created a baseline for creation of the first generation holodeck. While we do not expect physics level of interaction, AMD reduced the number of computers that drove previous university experiments from hundreds to several: the company can drive 24 display outputs out of a single computer either by using 5870 Eyefinity6 Edition or even 36 displays if three 12-port HD5970 4GB cards from PowerColor were used (triple slot card, cannot fit more than three in a special SilverStone case).

Simon Solotko of AMD fame posts an holodeck related E3 tweet
Simon Solotko of AMD fame posts holodeck-related tweet

We learned that AMD could bring something impressive on E3 from Simon Solotko and his post on Twitter (pictured above). Knowing the history of holodeck and ATI (now AMD), and thousands of manhours invested in the project, we can’t wait to see this becoming a reality.

Given that AMD cannot use the brand holodeck due to the fact of being a Paramount trademark, the company might go with the line "holofinity", "Eyedeck" or something more innovative. Dreamdeck or Holodream, for example.

It will be many years before we have a fully interactive Holodeck environment, but you can bet we won’t need to wait for 23rd Century to arrive.