Intel has made ten predictions for technology in the next ten years.
“Predicting the future of information technology especially on a ten year time scale, can be a perilous business,” said Intel technical marketing manager Steve Cutler, speaking at a Press/Analysts day in London.
“One of the defining characteristics of IT is a rate of change that is so fast it is unmatched in any other area of human endeavour – both today and historically. Yet it’s fair to say that the next decade is set to drive even more far-reaching and potentially radical changes.
- New classes of portable devices with ten times more battery life
- Low-cost silicon photonics for faster, more reliable data transmission
- New heights of realism in visual computing
- Realistic computer generated images
- Malware will become a thing of the past
- Personal internet devices will be truly personal
- Interactive computing devices make ‘composable computing’ a reality
- Next-generation TV will not be about pixels
- Seamlessly connected 3-D worlds
- A spectrum revolution is looming
Prediction One – new classes of portable devices with ten times more battery life
Sub-threshold integrated circuit technology requires only 300mV to operate.
Intel showed 4-way SIMD (single instruction multiple data) vector processing accelerator in 45nm in CMOS operated below its gate threshold voltage at the ISSCC technology conference.
“This will lead to new classes of portable devices designed to take advantage of greater battery life, which in turn will drive popularity and uptake.”
Prediction two – low-cost silicon photonics for faster, more reliable data transmission
Silicon photonics optics channels will be used inside and outside PCs.
For example, remote optical memory can be used to create converged I/Os so a PC could have a single unified connector for a computer display, LAN, printer, wireless connection, scanner, USB and so on. Furthermore, because an optical channel does not require design engineering to ensure speed – its inherent in its nature – speed is implicit which has all sorts of positive implications such as true HD down loads, storage capability and terabit networking.
Prediction three – new heights of realism in visual computing
There will be a shift from dedicated hardware graphics engines to general hardware running dedicated software as this has greater flexibility so features such as shadow map algorithms – an aspect of rendering that creates tiny ragged outline edges – can be replaced by ’soft shadows’.
‘Order independent transparency’ – the ability to create overlaid images which are clearly transparent, will be vastly improved.
Overall, these benefits will deliver new heights of realism to computer generated imagery.
Immediate applications areas are gaming sphere, but it will also have implications for business applications and the film industry.
Prediction four – realistic computer generated images
Some types of complex graphic rendering requires the use of data sharing between the CPU and the graphic processing unit (GPU).
However, the hardware-based model for graphics does not easily facilitate this at present.
The sharing of virtualised memory between the CPU and the GPU will deliver the highest performance yet, for what are typically very complicated interactions.
For example, complex data structures can be shared between the two with applications easily split between the CPU and GPU.
Prediction five – malware will become a thing of the past
Malware, whatever form it takes whether viruses, trojans or worms, will be beaten by hardware-based techniques that protect at the deepest level.
Today Intel has ‘trusted execution technology’ which is a set of processor hardware extensions and chipsets that have security characteristics such as measured launch and protected execution.
It achieves this by creating an environment in which applications can run within their own space, protected from all other software on the system.
To a degree, the success of hardware-based security is also dependent on how much effort vendors are prepared to put into securing their products. But once it is known that there is a solution that successfully addresses the problem of malware market forces will drive vendors in this direction.
Prediction six – personal internet devices will be truly personal
Mobile internet devices (Mids) are already powerful enough to be useful and the introduction of sub-threshold devices (prediction one) mean these will run all day.
Add this to a continuous Internet connection and users will, for example, be able translate words into other languages and hear then pronounced, or with GPS get a constant geographically-based pollen prediction for that day.
Ten years from now Mids will be ubiquitous and application developers will flood the market with all sorts of ingenious ideas.
Prediction seven – interactive computing devices make ‘composable computing’ a reality
‘Composable computing’ is the impromptu assembly of a logical computer from wireless components that are nearby – enabled by wireless links, automatically assembling networks, and simple graphical user interfaces that allow available components selected and connected as the user desires.
For example, images taken on a mobile device could be directed onto a nearby TV, or the music playing on an MP3 player could be sent to a HiFi in the room.
Prediction eight – next-generation TV will not be about pixels
There is a limit to how big a TV screen can be without needing larger rooms, and a limit to the amount of resolution this size of screen needs.
Beyond this, TVs will have to differentiate themselves by delivering further information.
For example, click on a athlete in a running race to bring up biographical details in a window.
Viewing will be from any location, delivered through various means such as ‘over-the-air’ and multi-cast IP, and available on a wide range of devices from notebook PCs to mobile internet devices and smart phones.
Prediction nine – seamlessly connected 3-D worlds
3D worlds, perhaps the World of Warcraft and Second Life, will overlap and be used for more practical activities.
Companies already get feedback from virtual users about new products before they are brought to the real market, and virtual spaces can be created as meeting places where employees can exchange information regardless of geographical location.
With the impending advances in computer graphics and growth in devices, how long will it be before a company like Amazon.com, for example, establishes a 3D presence with shopping aisles and book shelves that can be entered via virtual worlds such as Second Life?
Prediction ten – and finally a spectrum revolution is looming
Already many devices contain two or three wireless connectivity options and as television becomes more interactive this need will become more pressing.
As things stand today, the spectrum is fragmented and fairly chaotic, parts are saturated, and parts almost empty.
It’s unlikely that this will happen in a smooth manner, as many organisations will wish to maintain dominance of their spectrum segment.
However, for example, as broadcast TV eventually concedes its position to interactive TV which is tailored to each user’s preferences, spectrum will eventually be freed up.