For many years, Apple has shown the world the processor while important can take a backseat to the software integration when it comes to performance.
In iPhone performance tests, Apple consistently outperforms Samsung who relies on the Android OS to interface between the apps and CPU.
In the early days of WebRTC – it was maddening to developers that Apple’s FaceTime was much better at transmitting quality video than their applications because they were at the mercy of the OS.
Efficient software matters. 10 years ago Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was king and many thought it could not be beaten. Chome’s speed advantage helped it dethrone the browser king.
None of this is lost on Intel.
We were recently on a call with the company to get a sense of where they are headed.
The main theme was Delivering Real World Performance.
The company wants to lead in all areas of technology – the network, edge, high-performance computing and AI.
They want to address the needs of the future data center and they know software determines customer real-world experience with their hardware.
This is why they are optimizing the software and system level.
They are making “unique software investments and unleashing innovation.”
Other important points – they have a small army of skilled programmers to make makes sure their ecosystem is ready for advanced software and are contributing to hundreds of open source projects. They are the number one Linux kernel contributor for example.
They are also focusing on innovative accelerators in hardware and software – they recently make a 5.4 time improvement in JAVA workload performance.
Other important innovations and investments are in telecom – NFV and 5G base stations, as well as AI.
We all know AI will be everywhere soon. We often talk about the democratization of AI being part of the Future of Work. our favorite example of bringing the power of artificial intelligence into any business is Northstar from MIT and Brown that allows a restaurant owner to use a GUI to help figure out how much food or coffee to order on a weekly basis.
Intel knows this. They realize this is the next killer app for the processor and they are focusing heavily here. The company’s DL Boost is making this a reality.
Dell has seen a 3X TensorFlow improvement as an example. Facebook has seen up to a 19.5x performance improvement in PyTorch. Baidu has seen a 2.8X throughput increase in PaddlePaddle. You can see from the slide above – performance increases can be as high as 30X!
This is an interesting time for Intel – ARM is coming at them from below and AMD from the side. This is the third time in AMDs history where it is being talked about as a serious intel competitor.
We asked Intel some interview questions to get their thoughts on competition and the future. We hope you find it useful:
How is your relationship with Google?
We continue to have a strong relationship with Google across the board and they are often one of our earliest deployment partners. Our strategic partnership on Anthos to simplify enterprise cloud adoption is a great example as is our close collaboration around Intel Optane DC persistent memory. Google also recently added VM on the Google Compute Engine based on 2nd Gen Xeon Scalable processors.
Why does Intel continue to be the stable choice for partners to rely on?
Trust is built on relationships and consistently meeting customers’ expectations. Intel has delivered over 20 years of uninterrupted support for the data center. This consistency makes Intel the reliable choice, and is why Intel is the platform of choice for independent software vendors, OEMs, enterprises and cloud service providers.
Going forward, how is the company focusing on potential cybersecurity holes – to catch them before processors are released?
The threat landscape is constantly evolving, and the rate and pace of security research for software and hardware products is accelerating (e.g. there were 13% more vulnerabilities reported to NIST in 2018 than in 2017). We actively invest in offensive security research – that connects red team exercises with deep product knowledge to find and address potential vulnerabilities before products ship.
How do you feel your AI lead is compared to the market? In other words, how do system designers with a focus on AI quantify their selection of Intel solutions?
AI is not a monolithic workload. As the scope and complexity of AI workloads evolves, so does the hardware and software solutions needed to fuel them. Intel invests in multiple architectures (CPUs, GPUs, NNPs and FPGAs) to address our customers’ broad AI needs. Intel’s value is that we provide customers AI choices.
We want to take a moment to thank you for Moore’s Law and its place in the market as a goal to achieve over time. How does the company approach this “Law” today?
Moore’s Law is alive and well. While it’s taking longer and costing more to deliver and yield advanced process technologies, we are able to optimize our process and products within a node to deliver meaningful performance improvements. For example, 14nm process optimizations and architectural innovation have resulted in performance gains of more than 70% since the first 14nm products were launched.
Intel is making investments in six core areas that will drive Moore’s Law-like leaps forward in user experience. New product designs will combine manufacturing process advances with: new 2D and 3D packaging technology, novel memory and interconnect schemes, new architectures, built-in security features and unifying software APIs.
What does the future hold for it?
We have lots of ideas to keep the benefits of Moore’s Law going, including the continued scaling of transistors. Moore’s Law is evolving. Chiplets or heterogeneous computing is an example of this evolution. This approach is emerging at same time we are inventing packaging advancements like EMIB and Foveros that make stitching different die together to deliver customized, best-in-class products possible. With Intel’s broad portfolio of design and manufacturing innovations we believe we have a path to continue to scale on power, performance, and cost into the next decade.
Learn about the latest in everything you need! IT, UCaaS, the Channel, IOT, Edge, Cybersecurity, AI, SD-WAN, and the Future of Work at the world’s only SD-WAN Expo and MSP Expo, part of the ITEXPO #TechSuperShow, Feb 12-14, 2020 Fort Lauderdale, FL