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Intel adds computational intelligence to its vision of the future

Less than a month ago we discussed Intel's acquisition of InVision Biometrics, a company that developed 3D sensor technology for recognizing motion and gestures.  At the time we noted that the InVision Biometrics solution was a MEMS-based hardware solution, a good match for integration into Intel chips. We also noted that both Intel and Qualcomm are entering gesture recognition and other areas that until now have been software dominated, most likely intending to incorporate these areas into next-generation CPUs.

Today the news broke that Intel is opening a new research center in the area of computational intelligence.  They're funding this research center to the tune of $3 million per year for the next five years.

The news article includes the following statements from Intel that shed light on their plans:

The new institute will focus on technologies that serve as an infrastructure for intelligent thinking such as processing architectures and techniques for computerized systems that learn to process data from sensors and convert them to comprehensible information.

Intel VP and Microprocessor and Chip Development Group general manager Ron Friedman said, "We believe that sensory ability will be an integral part of future computer systems because mankind will take advantage of our systems in order to interpret received data."

It's not exactly clear yet what Intel's planning for the "computational intelligence" at this center, but it relates to sensor interpretation and it's targeting integration into CPUs and other chips.  This clearly continues the trend we saw earlier with Intel's and Qualcomm's acquisitions in gesture recognition.  Whether this area of technology will be incorporated into general-purpose or special-purpose chips remains to be seen.  Will gesture recognition and sensor interpretation be in future Intel CPUs, or will future devices have not only CPUs and GPUs but also SPUs?  (Yes, we know, the acronym SPU has been used before, but we think it's still available for "sensor processing unit" as they start to take off.)

And what kinds of devices is Intel targeting with their sensor interpretation and computational intelligence? Grizzly Analytics believes that this must be mobile devices of various sorts, where there's the most benefit of hardware implementation and the largest sales volume potential.

As a not-insignificant side-note, this research center is being created in Israel, the same start-up nation where InVision Biometrics and PrimeSense (makers of the gesture recognition in Microsoft's Kinect) were founded.  The other Israeli start-ups in the area, some of which we discussed here, are looking like better and better M&A targets.

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