Intel Pumps $30 Million Into Cloud's Future


Intel Labs is pumping the tires for cloud computing with a $30 million investment in a pair of new Intel Science and Technology Centers (ISTC) at Carnegie Mellon University that will focus on cloud computing and embedded computing research.

The $30 million is part of Intel's five-year $100 million program launched to accelerate innovation and increase university research.

The new ISTCs, Intel said, join the already announced centers for visual and secure computing.

"These new ISTCs are expected to open amazing possibilities," said Intel CTO Justin Rattner in a statement. "Imagine, for example, future cars equipped with embedded sensors and microprocessors to constantly collect and analyze traffic and weather data. That information could be shared and analyzed in the cloud so that drivers could be provided with suggestions for quicker and safer routes."

Cloud and embedded computing represent two major growth areas for Intel. In its second quarter earnings call last month, Intel said its Data Center Group sales jumped 15 percent year-over-year with cloud computing and enterprise servers leading the way. And Intel's Embedded & Communications Group, which includes processors like the Xeon and Atom chips to power portable and other devices, leapt a whopping 25 percent.

The new ISTCs will also build upon Intel's vision for cloud computing, dubbed Intel Cloud 2015. The Cloud 2015 vision features centers around three key elements; a world of interoperable federated clouds; automated movement of software applications and resources; and PC and device-savvy client-aware clouds that know what processing should take place in the cloud or on a mobile device such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet.

Intel said the ISTCs will add new ideas from academic researchers to extend Intel's existing cloud computing initiatives. The center will combine researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of California Berkeley, Princeton University, and Intel that will explore cloud-impacting technologies like built-in application optimization; efficient and effective support of big data analytics on large amounts of online data; and making the cloud more distributed and localized by extending cloud capabilities to the network edge and to client devices.

"In the future, these capabilities could enable a digital personal handler via a device wired into your glasses that sees what you see, to constantly pull data from the cloud and whisper information to you during the day -- telling you who people are, where to buy an item you just saw, or how to adjust your plans when something new comes up," Intel said in a statement.

On the embedded computing side, the ISTC will comprise leading researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley and Intel to form a collaborative community to drive research that can transform experiences in the home, in cars and in retail environments in the future.

A key area of research at the ISTCs will be to make it easier for devices to collect, analyze and act on data from sensors and online databases. For example, in cars, data could be used to customize entertainment options for specific passengers while also offering more tailored recommendations while traveling.

"With the growing popularity of mobile real-time and personalized technology, there is a corresponding rise in demand for specialized embedded computing systems to support a broad range of new applications -- including many not yet envisioned," Intel said.

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