tech news-Indian engineers in Intel Bangalore developing world beating products
It seems the success stories of many tech giants are often written just around the corner in Bangalore. As the Santa Clara-based Intel attempts to become a more broad-based chipmaker and ventures into mobile phone territory after conquering desktops, the Bangalore centre is playing a crucial role in the transformation.
The centre accounts for 3% of Intel’s global R&D strength. It is Intel’s biggest non-manufacturing centre outside the US and employs nearly 80% of engineers, who are either PhDs or masters, with different specialisation.
Among them is Ravishankar Kuppuswamy, engineering director at Intel Architecture Group, who led the design efforts behind company’s newest Xeon E7 high-end processor for servers. The processor is the second major chip to be designed by the India development centre, after the Dunnington in 2008. Released worldwide in April and launched this week in India, the processor delivers 40% better performance than the previous generation of processors, according to Intel.
One of the products that the company has developed for the local market is the smaller, entry-level desktops, with long-lasting batteries. In fact, it’s the lack of steady electricity supply in the rural areas that prompted Intel to develop the product. Though the company has tied up with the HCL, the product is yet to hit the market.
Another product that an employee of the company came up with for the local market, is the hand-held device (UHD) which can used for rural banking and data collection. The device has biometric recognition and GPRS capabilities, which helps in updating the database directly. “We expect the device to be quite successful in rural banking,” said Praveen Vishakantaiah, president, Intel India .
For the global marketplace, the server microprocessor design is the cutting edge field that the Bangalore team works on. The six-core server CPU called ‘Dunnington’ came out of Bangalore centre. “It is an example how we design the server micro-processor with the features to make it successful in the global market,” he added. Research is the other key aspect of the centre. It has announced a 48-core product, which is a research product. “This is demonstrative of the capability and the competency we have. Research prototypes are crucial for us to make decisions about future technology and how we design future products,” said Vishakantaiah.
Intel’s Bangalore R&D centre also contributed to ‘Sandy bridge’ wire-less display for the latest generation core products. Perhaps the first attempt at wireless projection of content from laptop to television. A large part of the software development, validation and assessment for this project was done in India. “There are quite a few projects that we work on, that goes into our global products but the innovation is done here,” said Vishakantaiah.
In 2007, engineers at Intel’s India centre developed over half of the famous ‘teraflop’ chip, which put 80 cores onto a fingernail-sized device, drawing just 62 watts of power. The chip was the world’s first teraflop processor.
In order to drive that kind of innovation, Intel wants to have the capability or model that encourages every India employee to contribute. The company has built a small core team, focused on the local market innovation, to funnel the ideas and thoughts of the employees. It has in place an innovation framework that allows an employee to feed ideas and get seed funding to do proof of concept. If they are successful, they get funded to go to market with the idea.