Intel envisions future based on

As the Spring 2002 Intel Developer Forum (IDF) wrapped up last week in San Francisco, Intel Corp. chief information officer Patrick Gelsinger used Moore’s law as a guidepost to map a possible future for communications and computing.

Among the show’s highlights were the official releases of several Intel products, including three new single-chip gigabit Ethernet products for workstations and servers, including Itanium and Xeon processors and chipsets, and products based on Intel’s InfiniBand architectures and fabric connectivity.

The various labs and developer sessions at IDF focussed on emerging technologies such as 3GIO architecture, Web services, network processing and 802.11 wireless networking technology. Software topics ranged from Web services and hyper-threading, to cross-platform Intel threading tools and software development tools.

In his closing keynote speech, his first as Intel’s new CTO, Gelsinger talked about expanding Moore’s law – the observation originated by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that predicted chip processing power will double approximately every 18 months.

“In this last year, we’ve shown incredible progress against Moore’s Law. We’ve shown some incredible breakthroughs to accomplish that,” Gelsinger said.

Gelsinger quoted a line of Richard Matheson’s novel and motion picture The Incredible Shrinking Man to illustrate his point.

“The final line in that movie is ‘to God there is no zero.’ And to us as an industry, we have to take the view, the perspective, (with) Moore’s Law, there is no end. We’re going to keep driving it forward and we as a company and as an industry need to keep driving that core technology forward to accomplish that,” Gelsinger said.

Intel’s plans are to link together optical and silicon technologies, Gelsinger said, adding this would boost the performance of fibre-optic networks.

Gelsinger also focussed on the future of silicon radio, silicon photonics and ad-hoc sensor networks. “Radio Free Intel” is an initiative to shrink down radio components into all future PCs, Gelsinger said.

“The first one we’re working on is called MEMS (micro-electrical machines)…when you look at the radio today, you’ve got all these passive components, a few silicon components, radio components, baseband processor, memory components – so we want to drive all of those together into a single radio component,” Gelsinger said.

“Imagine the cell phone of the future is no bigger than an earring…with a wireless network, a MEMS microphone device will be no larger than the size of a button on your shirt. You’ll be able to have a microphone rather than this big thing hanging on my belt. We’ll actually deliver a wireless world where you no longer need wires to connect these together. We want to bridge from the RF world to the electronics world and bring those together with the power of Moore’s Law,” he added.

“Moore’s Law is moving beyond just transistors to become entirely new functionality of devices that includes transistors with entirely new types of devices.”

Intel Corp. in Santa Clara, Calif. is at