In this episode, Darren and Cameron Chehreh, Vice President and General Manager of Public Sector, Intel, talk about Intel’s superpowers: ubiquitous computing, pervasive connectivity, edge to cloud, and artificial intelligence.
Cameron started his career working for the largest privately owned staffing company. There, he developed a passion for technology after learning PeopleSoft. That led to his opportunity to help build the world’s first cloud computing company, UC Center Networking. He and his coworkers created the tagline “software as a service” in 1997, seven or eight years before the term “cloud” was coined. He worked for federal systems integrators such as Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics, where he found he was passionate about supporting a mission. This passion has been driving him since he as CTO at Dell Technologies and now leading the public sector team at Intel.
One of the factors that led Cameron to join Intel was the return of Pat Gelsinger and the leadership team he is building, including the addition of Greg Lavender. Cameron believes Intel will be reinvigorated and continue innovating under Gelsinger. He wants to be part of the work to get Intel back to its status as an iconic American brand. He believes there is a culture of humility and people who do the right thing.
Semiconductors are in everything: cars, appliances, smartphones, computers, health care systems, etc…They span just about every vertical market on the planet. They improve the quality of people’s lives, even saving lives, through health care, national security, and scientific research.
The COVID pandemic brought this ubiquitous nature to light due to the sheer number of people who could work at home and education continuing online. It also helped close the digital divide in many ways.
Silicon can’t realize its potential without being connected. Intel is not just a chip company but one with a whole interconnecting portfolio.
There are times when things are disconnected, for example, a warfighter in a DDIL environment, but they can still use the compute locally to execute the mission. When they reconnect, whether legacy 4G, 5G, or the upcoming 6G, they can get up-to-date information, in other words, data transmission. In an education scenario, however, interconnection is vitally essential for things like streaming, video content, and getting access to data. That is a powerful asset.
The pandemic also brought about a significant uptick in comms and 5G as students and workers needed this connectivity. This continues today, even as students and workers are back onsite. Whereas students may have had periodic access to Chromebooks pre-pandemic, many now have their own that they can take home. Unfortunately, there are still areas in the country and the world where there are gaps, and people cannot participate in the digital economy. Surprisingly, closing the digital divide in the United States is not as easy as in developing countries. They can leapfrog the United States because they invest in 5G and 6G: non-terrestrial comms.
Cameron believes connectivity is equally important to computing, as being connected to others is one of the fundamentals of the human experience.
Edge to Cloud
The underpinning of edge-to-cloud is computing and interconnect, so Intel plays a significant role in this space along with its partners. Edge to cloud harnesses the true power of not only silicon but software. It creates interoperability. You can move workloads securely and seamlessly from an edge device to a cloud or traditional data center using open standards, core technologies, and an edge-to-cloud strategy.
For the foreseeable future, the edge will dominate because as things get brighter, technology must be pushed out to the edge where the information is being created. Then processing can happen in a centralized manner for more analytics and AI. Things will only move forward, and the edge will become pervasive.
Data is everywhere now; data centers do not have walls. It is collected and even processed in myriad ways like cell phones, cameras, industrial motors, etc. Artificial intelligence is all about making intelligent decisions based on all of this disparate data.
Intel has one of the largest artificial intelligence portfolios in the world, an extraordinary software portfolio, and more software developers than many software companies. The reason is, as Greg Lavender points out, the software is the soul of silicon. You have to allow it to do something and give it life and purpose. AI is an excellent example of this.
Sometimes people think of AI in terms of robots, but there are countless practical use cases. One example is if you get lost, you can immediately query Siri or Google and, using GPS, the service will geo locate you and find the nearest point of civilization or wherever you want to go.
Another practical use case is at the US Postal Service. The next generation of delivery vehicles is as modern as the Google Street View cars, with sensors mapping certain things. The postal service applies AI to kinetic intelligent sorting and mail handling machines. They are leveraging technology to scale.
Because of Intel’s ubiquitous computing and advanced comms, more edge devices are becoming intelligent, and the amount of data that needs to move off the edge into data centers is decreasing. This is because AI algorithms infer what you are looking for on the edge. This kind of technology is built directly into Intel CPUs. They also have specialized XPUs, neurotrophic processors, that do the same at lower wattage and higher speeds.
Part of the power of what happens with Intel and their partners is the ability to have access to all the information in a consumable format. In the example of getting lost and looking to your phone for help, you might be looking at something that has ingested 600 different data points within a split second to give you a simple answer.
Intel’s people and its partners in the ecosystem are superheroes. Partners help bring together real solutions, especially in that critical last mile. Intel has one of the best ecosystems to bring solutions to the market. And sometimes, those solutions aren’t even brought to market but are used to help solve challenging problems in defense and the public sector.
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