Friday, September 14, 2012

The Next Generation of Computer Chips

Intel's Haswell chips are engineered to cut power use
Intel has released early details of its Haswell computer chips, due for release in the middle of next year.

One version of the processors will run at 10 watts, about half as much as its current Ivy Bridge design.

It said the improvement would mean devices could become thinner, faster and offer extended battery life.

In addition it said the chips were designed to better support "perceptual" tasks such as voice recognition, facial analysis and depth tracking.


Another innovation on the new chips is a more powerful GPU (graphics processing unit). This is designed to handle tasks in which a large number of calculations can be carried out simultaneously, rather than one-at-a-time.

Speech and face recognition are highly parallelisable tasks and will thus benefit from this improvement.

Intel is working with speech-recognition company Nuance to create a software kit to help developers best unlock the chips' potential.

In addition it suggests Haswell-based computers will also be better suited to tracking objects placed close to their camera sensors allowing further development of gesture controls and augmented reality. [...]

More on the voice aspect:

Intel brings voice search to ultrabooks
Intel is going to integrate a Google Voice-like technology into its future ultrabooks.

By partnering with voice specialist Nuance, Intel will let ultrabook buyers use speech to control their laptop, Dadi Perlmutter, general manager of the Intel Architecture Group, said in a keynote speech at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco on Tuesday.

In an onstage demonstration, attendees saw an Intel developer instruct a Dell XPS ultrabook to search the web, look up a product on Amazon, tweet a link to it, and then play some music. All of this was done with voice control.

The software "is running native on the platform. This is not a cloud service, this requires the high-performing CPU and the capabilities inside", Perlmutter said. Intel has worked with Nuance to tune the application for its processors to maximise performance, he said.

The software pairs Nuance's Dragon Assistant technology with Intel-based ultrabooks and should be available as a beta in late 2012 and as a full product in the first quarter of 2013.

It is reminiscent of Google Voice, which lets Android users search the web and control their phone by talking to it. The main difference is that Intel's software is initiated by the user saying 'Hello Dragon' to their computer, while Google typically requires the user to touch the screen.

Nuance's flagship product for PCs is Dragon Naturally Speaking. Furthermore, its technology sits at the heart of Apple's Siri voice search technology. [...]

No comments: