Indian engineers do IT for Intel

January 20, 2008 12:00 am | Updated October 08, 2016 09:04 pm IST

Anand Parthasarathy

Bangalore: Hello, hello! Your mobile phone is talking to you. It has been monitoring your vital health signs when you are not making or taking calls, and wants to give you an update, possibly warn you off more sweets, because your blood sugar level is high.

‘And so to bed’ is not just for humans. The ‘radio’ in your laptop or mobile phone — the circuits that connect wirelessly to the Web — are the biggest power guzzlers in the device. Soon, they may “go green”: deploying an ‘adaptive snooze technology’ that is taking the proverbial ‘forty winks’ to conserve battery power when they sense that there is no traffic on the network.

Translating the adage, ‘cheaper by the dozen,’ into technology, a single communication device may soon sport multiple radio circuits: Cellphone connectivity, WiFi, WiMax, Bluetooth, digital TV... And it will switch seamlessly from one to the other depending on what is best (and, hopefully, cheapest!)

What is common to these futuristic scenarios that we can only dream about today? They are all being addressed by researchers at Intel — and key work is being done by Indians at the chip making leader’s Bangalore-based facilities. To highlight the ‘desi’ contribution to Intel’s international research efforts, chief technology officer Justin Rattner was here last week, sharing details with the media.

Among the dramatic demonstrations arranged was the attainment of ‘terascale’ computing speeds — that is, number-crunching at one teraflop or one trillion mathematical operations a second. Intel achieved this, harnessing the first chip in the industry with 80 separate cores on board. Almost half the total work on the teraflop chip was done by the Bangalore-based team led by Vasantha Erraguntla, Dr. Rattner said.

At the CXO Conclave of the Indian Semiconductor Association, he highlighted the work done by an Intel-supported group at the University of California in Berkeley together with the Aravind Eye Hospital in Tamil Nadu. They have created a low-cost WiFi-based solution, linking 13 villages, some of them tens of km apart, in a videoconference network.

As a result, nearly 2,000 long-distance eye examinations are being done every month — and 3,000 patients have had their vision restored so far.

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