Intel spends a bundle on next-generation technology. Here's a look at some fruits of that labor from Intel Labs.
Intel Research Day Demonstration
Intel researcher James Song shows the difference power-saving technology makes with Intel's current "Menlow" line of mobile device processors compared to the upcoming "Moorestown" line. The bars reaching to the red area show the older chip's power consumption as it runs; the shorter pale bars in front show the newer results. The Moorestown chips are better able to enter low-power idle states, with spikes in power usage only as needed. Attaining low power consumption means batteries last longer and Intel is better able to crack the market for small mobile devices such as smartphones.
The technology was one of many Intel Labs researchers demonstrated at the Intel Research Day at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., on Thursday.
This prototype system based on Intel's upcoming Moorestown processor for mobile devices ran Intel's Moblin version of Linux. On the top are a functioning keyboard and screen, though it only had a primitive graphical interface.
Intel has showed off its wireless power transmission technology before with lightbulbs and Netbooks, and now it has shown it running a speaker playing music. The rear coil broadcasts power electromagnetically, and the smaller front coil, with the speaker in its center, is tuned to pick up the same frequency.
Intel hopes the technology will be useful for charging devices without wires and possibly within devices such as a laptop, which today carries power from a battery to its screen through a flexible but fallible cable.
Researchers at Intel and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign showed this demonstration that combined imagery from two 3D cameras into a single image. Think of it as virtual reality combined with teleconferencing. The combined image is on the screen to the right of center.
Intel, in combination with the University of Washington, is investigating cheap, thin solar cells, including some that are transparent. Intel believes solar cells eventually will be coated on numerous surfaces. The company is working on technology that works at large scale and high efficiency.
Aniruddha Vaidya shows Intel's prototype technology to transfer data among 36 processor cores arranged in a 6-by-6 grid. The demonstration, part of Intel's tera-scale project, simulated challenges that the company will face with much more larger-scale multicore processors of the future. The design could route around failed cores and be partitioned into independent groups of cores, an idea that Intel believes will be useful for virtualization and security reasons.
By grouping similar voice-over-Internet-Protocol calls together, Intel said it can accommodate 40 percent more callers on its WiMax wireless networks. Grouping the calls means the WiMax base station can issue commands in bulk rather than individually, reducing the overhead of the communications and freeing up capacity for more callers.
Intel, ever the advocate of doing more with mainstream computing hardware, believes high-end network technology can be replaced with more ordinary machines to route data from one part of the Internet to another.
Intel showed off technology to boost performance of a storage system by using solid state disks (SSDs). Using the single SSD along with 11 ordinary hard drives can double performance overall because the fast-access SSD can be used to cache data, but Intel is more excited about another doubling of performance that comes through storing only high-priority information such as file metadata on the SSD.