SEEING THE BIG PICTURE, Intel says it will channel $12 million into a visual computing institute (VCI) in Saarland University in Germany, over the next five years.
Chipzilla's cash splash-out is the largest amount the firm has ever spent on university collaboration, showing how important advanced graphics and visual computing technologies are becoming to the CPU maker, whose integrated graphics have long been a laughing stock.
According to Intel, visual computing a la Chipzilla will entail "analysis, enhancement and display of visual information to create life-like, real-time experiences and more natural ways for people to interact with computers and other devices." The chip behemoth also reckons the research will come in handy for a smorgasbord of other services including financial, scientific, data modeling, medical imaging and, last but not least, gaming.
Intel says a key mission of the German institute will be to add to the firm's tera-scale research programme, which ponders the philosophical question of whether multi-core computing can actually be used for higher-performance computing and more life-like graphics.
Justin Rattner, Intel's CEO and robot advocate in chief, noted his firm had worked with Saarland University "for a number of years," adding that "Given the growing importance of visual computing technology, it made perfect sense to expand our relationship and form this new institute."
The VCI aims to employ about a dozen researchers to fill its staff ranks, from Saarland University, Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence and Intel itself.
The German institute also felt it necessary to terrify neighbours by citing it "expected to grow by more than five times over the next 5 years and include collaborators from across Europe."
Apparently VCI will aim to form some kind of "feedback loop", for Intel's hardware design labs. Chipzilla also claims it wants "other academic and industry partners to join the research activities over time." Hear that Nvidia, AMD?
An Nvidia spokesman told the INQ "we think its great that after all these years Intel believes what we've been saying for over 10 years now..."
If you ask us, Intel will need all the help it can get to teach others "virtual computing." But here's a good first tip Intel... open your eyes and switch on the screen. µ