In the 2013 World IT Show, Qualcomm opened a booth to demo their new and highly anticipated Snapdragon 800 processor for smartphones and tablets. The new processor promises a large improvement in CPU and GPU performances over its predecessor, the Snapdragon 600, and also includes a new power management technology that is suitable for low-power scenarios often seen in mobile devices. After the release of the first Snapdragon chipset in 2008, its continuous developments opened the door to the new world of low-powered, real-time, ubiquitous computing. In this summer issue of the EE Newsletter, we will give a short explanation of the Snapdragon 800 and conduct an interview with Dr. Dong Hyun Kim, a KAIST Electrical Engineering alumnus and one of the developers for the processor. We hope this could be an opportunity for the reader to get a feel for the impact Snapdragon will have on the mobile AP market and think about the future direction that one of electrical engineering’s area of interest could take.
Q. Please introduce yourself.
A. I graduated from KAIST Electrical Engineering with a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and Ph.D. in 2006 and have been designing GPUs at Qualcomm from 2007 and on. I had already been doing research related to GPUs during my time in graduate school under the guidance of Prof. Lee-Sup Kim. An acquaintance I met at a conference due to a paper was in charge of working on the Snapdragon multimedia core (GPU, video, camera, audio) at Qualcomm at the time, and that’s when my tie with Qualcomm was formed. During my time at Qualcomm, I designed the Adreno GPU 300 series – the 305, 320, and 330 – that went in to the current generation’s Snapdragon 400, 600, and 800; now I am working on the architecture, design, and validation of a next generation GPU.