In a shock announcement just a few moments ago, Nvidia has revealed that it has signed an agreement to acquire Ageia Technologies—the company that raised the awareness of in-game physics with the launch of the PhysX physics processing unit in 2005—for an undisclosed sum.
Details are very slim on the ground at the moment, but Nvidia says that more information on the acquisition
will be disclosed during the company's quarterly earnings call on February 13th at 10:00PM GMT.
Jen-Hsun Huang, Nvidia's president and CEO, hinted at bringing "GeForce-accelerated PhysX to hundreds of millions of gamers around the world
" in the press release just issued.
"The computer industry is moving towards a heterogeneous computing model, combining a flexible CPU and a massively parallel processor like the GPU to perform computationally intensive applications like real-time computer graphics,
" claimed Huang.
"Nvidia's CUDA technology, which is rapidly becoming the most pervasive parallel programming environment in history, broadens the parallel processing world to hundreds of applications desperate for a giant step in computational performance,
" Huang said. "Applications such as physics, computer vision, and video/image processing are enabled through CUDA and heterogeneous computing.
The acquisition, Nvidia says, is still subject to customary closing conditions, but we expect this to go through fairly quickly.
I'm not quite sure what to think at the moment, as Ageia was a company almost waiting to be acquired by a bigger fish. That said, the prospects of on-GPU physics is an interesting one when you consider the fact that both ATI and Nvidia blew a lot of GPU-physics induced hot air in 2005. Back in September, Intel announced that it had bought Havok—the industry's leading physics middleware developer—so now that Nvidia is set to acquire Ageia, where does that leave AMD?
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