Intel's vision: Faster, mobile, smaller

A blanket that monitors your baby's heart rate, a farm crop that requests additional water, a swimming pool that calls for help. All of these fantastic-sounding products will share a common bond: They'll all have Intel inside.

At least that's the plan of Intel Corp. Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Pat Gelsinger, who described these and other far-reaching ideas during a keynote here Thursday at the Intel Developer's Forum.

In addition to meeting Moore's famous law, Intel intends to expand upon it, Gelsinger said. Instead of just pushing for more and more performance, Intel will also push its technology into new areas--bringing processing power and intelligence to products that have never used it before.

Radio-Free Intel

Among Intel's grandest plans: In the next five years, the company wants to put an entire radio in the corner of one of its CPUs. It won't be just part of a radio, but the whole thing--antennae and all, Gelsinger said.

"We want to make radios so cheap they're ubiquitous," he said. Ubiquitous radios that are dynamically configurable will make it possible to create a seamless network across offices, buildings, and even cities, he said.

Intel could make this work through an ad-hoc sensor net, Gelsinger said. To demonstrate the concept, he brought out David Cullen, director of Intel's Research lab at the University of California at Berkeley.

Cullen led a demonstration of his lab's Ad-hoc Sensor Net by having the audience reach under their seats, where more than a hundred of them found boxes about the size of TV remote controls. He activated the network, waking the sleeping nodes, which then linked with each other to create a stable network.

Then Cullen introduced three more nodes, each attached to beach balls. It took a few moments, but these bouncing nodes eventually joined the network, too.

Technologies like this make it possible to have a sensor-based baby blanket, Gelsinger said. Another use: placed throughout a building, these nodes could awake and notify engineers if structural problems arise.

Today these sensors are the size of a quarter. Soon, they'll be a mere speck of silicon, Gelsinger said.

Beat the Heat

Looking toward future products is fun, but Intel knows it must address basic production issues just to keep pace with Moore's Law, Gelsinger said.

In the beginning, the challenge was to innovate fast enough. It took Intel three years to go from a 25-MHz processor to a 50-MHz processor, "and we were proud," Gelsinger said. Today the company sees jumps like that every day.

Currently, the company's biggest problem is power and heat, he said. On its present path, Intel's high-speed chips will generate the heat of roughly "the surface of the sun," he joked.

In order to keep pushing processing performance, Intel has to find ways to lower the power requirements, he said. One possible solution is Intel's hyper threading technology, which simulates the work of multiple processors in one, increasing performance by as much as 30 percent, he said. Another is the use of higher-performance circuits that use less power.

The simple fact is, Intel can't continue to increase the power to its chips. "We're not going to 10,000 watts," he said.

Intel Everywhere

Gelsinger also addressed Intel's plans to bring silicon together with optical technologies. The combination could greatly improve performance of fiber-optic networks and other products, while driving down overall costs, he said.

And all these plans revolve around the expansion of Moore's law, Gelsinger said.

That "law" is something Intel Chairman Emeritus Gordon Moore--in a videotaped segment--said he "blindly extrapolated," but which "turned out to be more precise" than expected.

Looking forward, Gelsinger said, Intel is more confident than ever that it can maintain at least another decade of attaining Moore's Law.

"Moore's Law: We see no end," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Mainelli

PC World
Show Comments



Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?