IDF 2011: Fundamental Tranformations

Today at IDF Intel announced the beginning of fundamental transformations era that is bringing with it a lot of new technologies and concepts. Ultrabooks, next-generation Haswell platform, fundamentally new anti-malware protection on the kernel level, Intel and Google collaboration in the smart-phone segment, and more!

by Anna Filatova
09/13/2011 | 03:07 PM

Today IDF 2011 took off in San Francisco, California. A lot of technology leaders and members of the press gathered in Moscone West convention center to listen to Paul Otellini, President and Chief Executive Officer of Intel Corporation speak about the evolution of computing and where we can expect the world to get to shortly.


The theme of today’s opening keynote was fundamental transformations. We have already been part of everyday transformations, we have seen dramatic transformations of the world.  And computing is yet another part of our life that underwent transformations, too. The transformations in computing have unleashed wave after wave of business and personal productivity. It provides people with opportunity to participate in global economy. Today we witness a shift from the age of personal computer to the age of personal computing. That is why Intel created what they call “compute continuum”, which is built around the user. It is important to understand that computing is about experiences, it means more than just computers. It involves our everyday life from shopping, to driving and learning, and, of course, these experiences are important, but so are the devices that make these experiences possible. Transformation in computing is an incredible opportunity for Intel and anyone in this conference.

Transformations have gotten us to great places already. The growth of more sophisticated and capable cloud has enabled more sophisticated experiences. The results are stunning. Thousands of videos are uploaded to every minute, social media have grown enormous, there are currently more than 4 billion connected devices and the amount of data generated in a year exceeds 900 billion gigabytes. Taken together these trends create unprecedented demand for transistors. In Intel we have been driving this exponential growth in demand for transistors for a long time. We see Moore’s Law in action, but today we are already at the point when the transistor growth over the past two decades looks like a flat line compared to what we have ahead of us.

However, you may get the impression that we are approaching the limits of physics and at some point the Moore’s Law may end. Take, for example, the most recent achievement, the invention of 3D transistors on Intel’s breakthrough 22 nm process.

Intel believes that the world needs Moore’s Law to continue its evolution and Intel is committed to make this happen. And they do not stop working on even more progressive technologies. They are already well into development of 14 nm and are beginning to build and tool their factories to support it. Intel’s architecture is the engine behind Moore’s Law that drives the innovation. They have created one of the largest innovative communities in the industry. Over 14 million developers enabled over 6 million applications and the results are astounding:

So what’s coming next? Let’s take a look where Intel sees evolution of computing is headed today.

As Paul Otellini described, computing had become more diversified. It enabled three essential capabilities:

Let’s talk a little bit more about each of them.

1. Computing is engaging.

In the attempt to reduce the electronic footprint of the integration Intel created thinner, lighter chip. This allowed them to enable new computing experience that’s more engaging than ever – called Ultrabook. This device is lighter, sleeker, lasts longer on a single battery charge. It is also more responsive and engaging so you can unleash your creativity and potential without the need to compromise. It will be secure and affordable, too. The first ultrabooks are already shipping from several of Intel partners.

However, they expect transition to Ivy Bridge - Intel’s next generation 22 nm processor – to become a significant milestone in the popularization of this device concept. Ivy Bridge is a very important achievement and brings new level of engagement to Ultrabooks. 

Later there will be also the next generation – Haswell – platform, which will take things even further by offering a 30% reduction in connected standby power.

But as you can see from the slide above, things can soon get even better. Today is a perfect timing for Ultrabooks. Intel has been working with their partners and Microsoft closely on this new device concept and transforming personal computing experience. So, they have also involved tablets. With Haswell they are targeting their long-standing obsession with power reduction. They even came up with a demo of solar-power computing, which showed what might be possible when you push the limits of transistor technology.

Server environment is also extremely important for making computing experiences more engaging. Take, for instance, Intel Xeon X5 family processors, which work great for 3D modeling task, like the only that collects images from around the web, processes them and then recreates, piece by piece, the 3D model of a historic monument or location (in our case it was a demo with St. Basilica cathedral in Vatican.

2. Computing is consistent.

There is a great number of diverse applications and tools available to users these days. And people want their familiar and favorite applications to work on almost every platform and every device that they use. How does Intel work with partners to enable consistent experience across the board on different devices? We were able to see one great example – such a common device as an office phone. It is going to completely transform as a result of joint efforts from many developers on the hardware as well as software side. Cisco and Intel came up with this new kind of collaboration device:

It interacts with a lot of applications seamlessly. And it is a tablet as well with all the advantages of one.

Intel also demonstrated Teleport Extender and Paired Share technologies that will be available shortly from their partners. So, overall, these capabilities are going to go a long way in making compute continuum real.

This is where it brings us to the third aspect of computing:

3. Computing is protected.

Given the nature of the cyber attacks, 2011 may be remembered as a year that Intel got serious about security.

In this environment the only way to get engaging and consistent experience is to make sure that you are well protected. This is when Intel decided to rethink the entire approach to security, because the need for that was obvious.

We were offered a demonstration from McAfee of the technology called DeepSafe.

Traditional approach to security is really a software based approach and the main challenge in this case is that malware embeds itself on the OS level and this is when it is usually too late, because the system already got infected. Using a combination of hardware and software protection programs can monitor and process activity and detect unknown threats. This technology developed in collaboration with McAfee and Intel will be a fundamentally new approach, as it will offer kernel mode rootkit prevention. DeepSafe technology will launch later this year and will offer better protection even to the already shipped processors. It is part of Intel’s vision on how to offer worry-free and protected computing experience.

All this produces the so-called computing opportunity, which includes new devices, new experiences, new opportunities across industries where computing is driving fundamental transformations around the world.

Over the last years Intel has learned a lot of things about smart-phones, and other mobile devices. And as of today Intel intends to make their architecture a platform of choice for smart phone devices. We had the opportunity to see the first Intel-based phone developed in collaboration with Google and their Android.

Now smart-phone device teams have come together to optimize Intel silicon for Android.

Well, computing is undergoing the most remarkable transformation since the invention of a PC. And Intel is going to be not only the primary investor, but also the leading partner and the driving force for the great changes yet to come.