Intel accelerates open programming standards as it innovates in AI, security and quantum

Intel accelerates open programming standards as it innovates in AI, security and quantum

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Intel Corp. dedicated day two of its Intel Innovation conference today to the efforts it has been making to foster an open ecosystem across its silicon and software offerings, with the goal of catalyzing innovation among the developer community.

In a keynote address, Intel Chief Technology Officer Greg Lavender explained that the company’s efforts are focused on helping developers become more productive and capable of realizing their potential through an expanding array of hardware platforms, tools and software solutions.

“We are making good on our software-first strategy by empowering an open ecosystem that will enable us to collectively and continuously innovate,” Lavender said. “We are committed members of the developer community and our breadth and depth of hardware and software assets facilitate the scaling of opportunities for all through co-innovation and collaboration.”

Community focus for oneAPI

During the speech, Lavender announced multiple new tools aimed at supporting the developer community in areas such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing and cybersecurity. In addition, he discussed the evolution of Intel’s cross-industry, open and standards-based programming model, oneAPI.

The aim of oneAPI is to enable developers to choose the best architecture to solve whatever specific problem it is that they’re working on, Lavender said. To better achieve this, oneAPI is now shifting toward a community forum led by Intel subsidiary Codeplay Software Ltd., which has a solid track record of driving open standards.

While Codeplay will now be in charge of oneAPI, Intel will continue to work with it and deliver developer tools and toolkits based on its open specifications, Lavender said. That starts with the Intel oneAPI 2023 toolkits that will launch in December, providing support for the company’s newest central processing units, graphic processing units and field-programmable gate array architectures.

They’ll also include new tools such as the SYCLomatic compatibility solution that converts Nvidia Corp. CUDA-based source code into SYCL source code, Lavender said. Moreover, developers will gain access to three new AI reference kits for healthcare, pertaining to document automation, disease prediction and medical imaging diagnostics.

In addition, Intel announced that the School of Software and Microelectronics of Peking University, the Science and Technology Facilities Council in the U.K., the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, the University of Utah, the University of California San Diego and the Zuse Institute Berlin have all opened oneAPI Centers of Excellence to expand the initiative among their students.

“Our goal is to make it easy for developers to get the best software technology through the open-source ecosystem or as Intel-delivered products,” Lavender said.

Project Amber expands

Lavender also provided an update on the Project Amber initiative launched at Intel Vision in May. Project Amber is a confidential computing service that’s designed to provide organizations with remote verification of trustworthiness in cloud, edge and on-premises environments. It’s focused on one of the most critical security elements for any organization: trust. Project Amber operates as an independent trust authority in the form of an innovative service-based security implementation code.

Project Amber is the driving force behind the German government’s new e-prescriptions project that’s currently being rolled out nationwide. The project, which was developed by IBM Corp., is designed to replace paper prescriptions within Germany’s national health service as part of its shift to the digital age. IBM’s solution integrates with Intel’s Software Guard Extensions, which are at the heart of Project Amber and enable data to be encrypted while in use, ensuring that sensitive healthcare data is never exposed.

More initiatives based on Project Amber are in the works too, Lavender said. For instance, Leidos Inc., a U.S. federal government technology contractor, is using Amber to create a proof-of-concept that will safeguard the healthcare information of veterans. The idea is that the solution can be used by mobile clinics that will make healthcare more accessible.

“Project Amber liberates Leidos from the need to build and maintain complex, expensive attestation systems, allowing us to focus on our core differentiation like intelligent automation and AI/ML-driven analytics,” said Leidos Health Group President Liz Porter.

Accelerating AI, quantum and neuromorphic computing

The final segment of Lavender’s keynote covered how Intel’s open silicon and software innovations can be combined with other technologies to create unique products and services across multiple industries.

To highlight this potential, Red Hat Inc. Chief Technology Officer Chris Wright joined Lavender onstage virtually to explain how his company’s OpenShift Data Science platform has been integrated with Intel’s AI offerings. The integration makes it possible for OpenShift developers to train and deploy new AI models with Intel’s AI Analytics Kit and OpenVINO tools.

Red Hat is planning further integrations too. Soon, it will make Intel’s Habana Gaudi deep learning accelerator available on OpenShift, enabling “cost-efficient, high-performance, deep learning model training and deployment as a managed cloud service,” Wright said. The companies are also working together to create a new AI Developer Program that will teach developers how they can test and deploy AI models on Red Hat OpenShift Data Science using Intel’s toolkits.

As for quantum computing, Intel announced the beta availability of its new Intel Quantum Software Development Kit, which Lavender said will make it easier for developers to program quantum algorithms. Further, Lavender spoke about Intel’s ongoing efforts to develop the post-quantum cryptography that will be necessary to safeguard data from attacks by quantum computers in the future.

Finally, Lavender announced a new tool from Intel Labs called Kapoho Point, which is a stackable multiboard platform based on the company’s Loihi research chip. He explained that Kapoho Point is a compact system designed to be used in small form factor devices and applications such as drones, satellites and smart cars. The board can power AI models with up to 1 billion parameters or solve optimization problems with up to 8 million variables, 10 times faster and with 1,000 times less energy than CPU-based systems, according to Intel’s studies.

Photos: Intel

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