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You are here: Home / Health / Intel Aims To Change the World
Intel Aims To Change the World, But Needs Bug Fix First
Intel Aims To Change the World, But Needs Bug Fix First
By Shirley Siluk / Sci-Tech Today Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
Ahead of today's kickoff of CES 2018 in Las Vegas, which runs through Friday, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich last night introduced show-goers to a number of new technologies and initiatives his company is rolling out. They include partnerships for autonomous driving, electric air transport, 3D and immersive-reality video, advanced drones, neuromorphic computing, and quantum computing.

Krzanich's talk on "How Data is Shaping Innovation of the Future" covered the gamut of applications being enabled by advanced computing that can quickly handle huge volumes of data. The next several years will bring "a rush of breakthroughs using data and AI, according to Krzanich (pictured above). "I think we're just beginning to push the envelope here," he said.

Patch Impacts and Securities Questions

At the start of his Monday evening keynote, Krzanich also acknowledged and thanked industry researchers who recently reported the major security vulnerabilities known as Meltdown and Spectre. Teams of researchers are still working to issue fixes for both bugs.

Meltdown, which affects mostly Intel processors, opens up the possibility for malicious actors to access memory anywhere on a device, while Spectre affects a wide range of Intel, ARM, and AMD chips manufactured since the 1990s. Publicly revealed last week, both bugs were identified last year but kept under wraps while programmers worked to develop fixes.

"As of now, we have not received any information that these exploits have been used to obtain customer data," Krzanich said. "For our processors, products introduced in the past five years, Intel expects to issue updates for more than 90 percent of them within a week and the remaining by the end of January."

Meltdown and Spectre are both hardware-based, system-level vulnerabilities connected to how processors access kernel memory or execute instructions to perform tasks and run programs. Researchers initially warned that patches could slow the performance of some devices by as much as 30 percent. However, last week, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft said that the fixes they'd been applying so far weren't creating major device slowdowns.

"We believe the performance impact of these updates is highly workload-dependent," Krzanich said yesterday. "As a result, we expect some workloads may have a larger impact than others, so we will continue working with the industry to minimize the impact on those workloads over time."

However, left unacknowledged was the fact that Krzanich reportedly sold more than $39 million of his personal Intel stock in November, before news of Meltdown and Spectre became public. Yesterday, the securities litigation firm Block & Leviton said it was investigating the CEO's stock sale for possible securities fraud. Whether the timing was related to knowledge of trouble about to be announced remains to be seen.

49-Qubit Quantum Chip

Krzanich's CES keynote included on-stage demonstrations of several innovations being enabled by advanced Intel chips and technologies from partner companies. They included an instrument-free musical performance by an "algorithm-and-blues" band, an autonomous driving demonstration by Intel partner Mobileye, a flight demonstration of the electric Volocopter, and a Guinness record-breaking show of 100 drones operating without GPS control.

Intel's CEO also announced that the company has shipped the first 49-qubit quantum computing test chip to its partner QuTech. Krzanich added that more news about a new neuromorphic research prototype processor will be announced to research partners later this year.

Other news announced during Krzanich's keynote include the launch of Intel Studios for advanced, 3D video productions; support for Intel-powered virtual reality broadcasts during the coming Olympic Winter Games; and autonomous driving technology partnerships with BMW, Nissan, Volkswagen, SAIC Motor, NavInfo, and Ferrari North America.

Image credit: Walden Kirsch/Intel Corporation.

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