Intel is planning to invest up to $12 million in a new European research center dedicated to researching visual computing and graphics technology. The center will focus on projects ranging from games to medical imaging to how graphics can help accelerate financial transactions. Intel is also expected to soon release its graphics processors code-named Larrabee that will help Intel compete against Nvidia and AMD's ATI products.
is investing up to $12 million to create a research center that will focus on
developing new graphics and visual computing technology at a time when the
entire PC industry is trying to create new types of graphics-intense
Intel Senior Fellow and CTO Justin
Rattner announced the $12 million investment May 12. Intel plans to invest the
money during the next five years to help build the Intel Visual Computing
Institute, which will be located at Saarland
University in Saarbrucken,
The goal of the center is to develop new types of PC hardware and software that
will not only help in developing games but also help create other types of
applications for fields such as health care and financial services.
While the announcement lacked specifics, Intel expressed particular interest
in what it calls terascale
research and technology.
For Intel, this means using dozen and even
hundreds of processing cores within a chip to improve the graphics and visual abilities
This type of chip technology can also be used to create supercomputers and massive
HPC (high-performance computing) systems
that use multicore technology to solve problems in parallel instead of using
older methods to simply crank up the clock speed of single-core processors.
"Given the growing importance of visual computing technology, it made
perfect sense to expand our relationship and form this new institute,"
Rattner said in a statement. "We are confident that it will become an
internationally recognized center and a driver for European leadership in the
visual computing field."
If this approach to computing seems familiar, it's because Intel and its two
main rivals in this area-Nvidia
and Advanced Micro Devices
-have been pushing this technology as an alternative
to classic chip technology.
Later this year or in early 2010, Intel
plans to finally unveil its "Larrabee" graphics processor,
will use multiple x86 cores and allow Intel and software developers to take
advantage of new types of parallel computing.
Nvidia is also interested in this type of multicore approach and using
parallel computing. In the last few years, Nvidia
has pushed its own Tesla GPUs (graphics processing units)
for this type of computing. In addition, Nvidia
has developed a programming language called CUDA,
which works as a parallel
computing engine for Nvidia's GPUs. AMD,
through its ATI graphics division, is at
work on similar technology.
Intel's investment in the new facility in Germany,
which the company says is now its largest investment ever in a European
university, comes at a time when Intel is facing ongoing scrutiny concerning
its business practices within the European Union. Later the week of May 11, the EU
is expected to fine Intel millions, if not billions, of dollars,
the company unfairly used its position to push competition out of Europe's
Intel is hoping to employ dozens of workers at the new facility by the end
of 2009, including its own researchers, as well as individuals from Saarland
University, Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Max Planck Institute for
Software Systems and the German Research
Center for Artificial Intelligence.