The world is becoming an inherently more graphical, more tactile place where we – as users – are being pulled to the mainframe data storage concepts of old (where all the important stuff is being held elsewhere), while at the same time seeing big increases in locally available compute power and faster data transfer. What will the world of tomorrow look like for regular folks? KitGuru dons a Sky Captain uniform for an Intel VP speech.
Whether your graphics grunt is provided by AMD, nVidia or even the humble Core i3 – your pixel processors are doing pretty much nothing for most of your online experience. The same is true for most of the core/thread bits of your CPU. We have, as a planet, built the web around the idea that the devices accessing it will be doing so with a single, tiny processor and no bandwidth. And that, obviously, has to change.
At IDF 2011, Intel laid out its first view of the future in this area, with RiverTrail (or River Trail – depending on which site you visit). The aim is simple, to enable a much richer web experience, by unlocking the power of your processor(s) while online.In other words, to have ‘real, powerful, parallel computing' happen locally on data that's transferred from other parts of the globe. If it works, the planet becomes one giant, disparate computer – with ‘work' happening all over the place. Beginnings of a monolithic neural network anyone?
Intel's solution to the problem relies on HTML 5 and it has now been fully accepted by Mozilla, to the point where support will be native in Firefox in 2013. Given that StatCounter now has Firefox only 9% ahead of Microsoft Internet Explorer and it is truly cross-platform, this is a serious step forward for the world's biggest processor company.
At the same time, Intel is preparing for life in a non-Microsoft world in a different way. Having acquired McAfee, there will be a big emphasis on security for tomorrow's Cloud/RiverTrail world.
Intel's Senior VP for Software and Services, Renee James summed it up at IDF 2012.
“With transparent computing, software developers no longer must choose one environment over another in order to maintain profitability and continue to innovate,” said James. “Consumers and businesses are challenged with the multitude of wonderful, yet incompatible devices and environments available today. It’s not about just mobility, the cloud or the PC. What really matters is when all of these elements come together in a compelling and transparent cross-platform user experience that spans environments and hardware architectures. Developers who embrace this reality are the ones who will remain relevant”.
“Software developers are currently forced to choose between market reach, delivering innovation or staying profitable. By delivering the best performance with Intel's cross-platform tools, security solutions and economically favourable distribution channels, the company continues to take a leadership position in defining and driving the open software ecosystem”.
KitGuru says: The idea sounds great and we can't wait to see this one come alive. Well, maybe ‘alive' is the wrong word. Hmm. Better have a chat with Paul Otellini and make sure he knows where the power switch is. You know. Just in case ‘it' begins learning at an exponential rate and achieves self-awareness with first-strike capability and all that jazz.
Comment below or in the KitGuru forums.