Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, May 02, 2002
Intel gears for convergence
BANGALORE, May 1
THE second Intel Developer's Forum in India in Bangalore focussed on expanding Moore's Law for the microprocessor.
Intel, which uses the forum to share its technology roadmap with developers and partners, said that the future would see the power of the chip growing exponentially, not just in terms of performance but also in convergence with other systems.
Three major areas identified by the company were silicon radios, adhoc sensors, and silicon photonics, said Mr Pat Gelsinger, Vice-President and CTO, Intel. A device based on a chip that has a radio built on it would be ''always on''. It could connect to the wireless as well as the wireline network and switch with ease between the two. For instance, one could keep tabs on children by giving them a wristwatch with a silicon radio.
Adhoc sensor networks have sent imagination wild. The classic refrigerator-ordering-milk-over-the-Internet-when-it-is-empty example apart, there could be smart clothing, an infant's blanket which controls temperature, smart farms where the chip is ''planted'' with each tree or bush to tell the farmer when it needs water, and whether the temperature is too high or too low.
The integration of silicon with fibre optics could also help bring down costs of optical networking, said Mr Gelsinger. Silicon photonics could result in building components for the optical network including a laser source, a transmitter, a multiplexer and a receiver at significantly lower costs.
Silicon filters that drop or divert wavelengths in a DWDM system would cost $ 500 vis a vis a bulky hand assembled filter that costs $15,000, Mr Gelsinger said. Intel is also working towards enhancing the power of the chip through better power dissipation, and hyperthreading for better performance.
Hyperthreading is a concept where a single processor is made to function like two, for faster performance.
Universal plug and play for ease of use and everything on IP are two other trends. Intel claims that it is no longer a microprocessor company, and that it has grown to an ''Internet building-block company''. As more and more devices with computing power are connected to the Internet, Intel chips are being packaged for Web services. Intel is also working for the standardisation of Web services.
Intel labs all over the world will work on these core technologies while the company's partners will build applications. Intel's R&D work is distributed through Intel development facilities, universities where the company has tie-ups, the industry and start-ups in which Intel Capital has made investments.
India still had a long way to go to catch up with Silicon Valley type of technology development, felt Mr John Davies, Vice-President and General Manager Business Solutions. Taiwan started as an OEM manufacturer and ended up being a product design and manufacture centre, and India could do the same in software.
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