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IDF Spring 2005 (Part I)
By CPU-zilla
Category : Events
Published by Jimmy Tang on Thursday, 3rd March, 2005

Driving Innovation

Intel Corporation CEO Craig Barrett kicked off IDF Spring 2005 today with a keynote describing the importance of continuing innovation not just at the chip or transistor level, but at the platform as well. Barrett talked about Intel’s transistor technology and how it has continued to extend Moore’s Law for 40 years. Describing an aggressive roadmap of transistor technology that continues to shrink the feature size of the transistor down to 22nm, Moore’s Law will likely continue to create chips with more than ever transistors.

Already with the next generation 90nm Itanium, codenamed Montecito, Intel demonstrated this dual core behemoth in the last IDF – a chip with up to 1.7 billion transistors in them. In fact, with the Montecito leading the all other chips in terms of transistor count, Moore’s Law seems to be accelerating faster than before. Between the 70s and the late 90s, transistors in chips doubled between 18-24 months. However, the trend shifted slightly at the turn of the millennium when we saw transistors doubled in chips every year. Intel expects this trend to continue, and with so many transistors enabling greater functions in chips, one can definitely imagine the kind of compute power these future chips will carry.

With so many technologies integrated at the chip level, Barrett pointed out that innovation must continue at the platform level. Barrett told the developer community that Intel is committed to work with them to build future platforms which combine the various platform building blocks such as microprocessors, chipsets, communications silicon, software and other technologies.

At IDF this year, Intel will continue to drive innovation through the introduction of new technologies such as multi-core, LaGrande, virtualization and I/O Acceleration Technology. Multi-core products are expected to debut starting Q2 this year with dual-core processors for the desktop, extending all the way to the server and mobile segments. Intel will drive the innovation further when they begin ramping these products using their latest 65nm process technology later this year. Thus, although these processors have more transistors, power levels are expected to be lower and Intel indicated that thermals for these products will be kept in check since the 65nm process technology will drive current leakage levels lower than current 90nm technology. Besides that, the volume economics brought along with the introduction of 65nm will drive chip costs lower, making dual core processors available to the masses, not just the elite group of users who can afford these “extreme” microprocessors.

"Innovation happens at many levels. We will continue to innovate at the transistor and individual chip level, but now our job is to work with the extended ecosystem of developers, software designers, software engineers, service providers and others to innovate at the platform level," said Barrett.

Besides driving innovation with their partners today, Barrett also disclosed plans to support education programs in the U.S. and more than 50 countries around the world. Intel plans to spend about US$100 million a year in order to nurture the next generation of innovators.

Steve Pawlowski, Senior Fellow of Intel Corporation, demonstrating to Craig Barrett the usefulness of multi-core processors in futuristic devices such as the Vizible platform which reads hand gestures to navigate through its user interface to run various applications concurrently.

Intel Corporation CEO Craig Barrett chats with Mike Megdal and “Mad Mike” Martin of West Coast Customs about the “ultimate mobile platform” (a fully “tricked-out” Chrysler 300 including a Intel® Centrino™ mobile technology-based notebook). Instead of mirrors, this Chrysler uses web cameras and built-in LCD screens to give you various viewing angles. It can also be wirelessly controlled via a PDA.

Craig Barrett discusses the importance of innovation with Burt Rutan, the winner of the $10 million Ansari X Prize, during his keynote address.

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