As is traditionally the case, Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini opened up the Intel Developer’s Forum with a keynote address in the theater at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The focus of Otellini’s talk was the “future of computing” and how Intel plans to capitalize on current trends and growth in the mobile device market. Otellini’s opinion is that we are still in the early stages in this evolution of computing and moving forward, no one device will be at the center of the computing experience. But of course, Intel plans to capitalize on all of them.
To power all of the different devices, whether they be in our pockets or on our desktops, Intel remains committed to advancing Moore’s Law and producing smaller, faster, more power-efficient transistors. The projected growth in transistor consumption Otellini spoke about was staggering—the graphs in the slides speak for themselves. While on the topic of transistors, Mr. Otellini also mentioned that Intel is already well into 14nm process development and that the company has already begun building-up and tooling fabs in preparation for 14nm production. In the more immediate future, however, Intel’s plan is to focus on the move to full 22nm tri-gate production and the transition of emerging Ultrabooks to the company’s upcoming Ivy Bridge architecture next year to enable more performance, smaller form factors, and better battery life.
Further discussing mobile form factors, Mr. Otellini also mentioned that Intel is already done with their next-gen Haswell processor architecture as well. According to Otellini, Haswell will offer a 30% reduction in power over current-gen Sandy Bridge architectures and integrate fine-grained, system level power management that could bring the total power of the entire platform down by a factor of 20 versus today’s solutions. He says Haswell will enable true “all day computing” when it arrives.
Further on in his presentation, Mr. Otellini then began bringing out guests to participate in a number of on-stage demos. The first was a demonstration of a low-power, experimental processor that was being powered by nothing but a small solar-cell, yet it was still able to run Windows. It was said that the chip was operating close to the voltage threshold of the transistors, but the actual number was not disclosed. Blocking the light source from the solar cell resulted in the system hanging—which was intentional believe it or not. Otellini then mentioned Intel does not have plans to productize a solar-powered platform—yet. Emphasis on “yet”.
Next up was a demo of an application that took all of the photos posted of St. Peter’s Basilica and used data gleaned from the images to create an accurate 3D model. Otellini mentioned the possibility of using the technology for crowd-sourced 3D models of events and other locations, and that it requires immense horsepower to compile all of the data; enabled by Intel, of course.