Indian Engineers Key In Development Of Intel's New Wonder Chip

Bangalore research center holds 50 patents.

Half the work on a new Intel chip, a fingernail-sized device that offers supercomputer performance, was done by engineers at its India research center, the company said Feb. 22.

A 20-member Indian team led by Vasantha Erraguntla, a 15-year Intel veteran who relocated to Bangalore in June 2004 from the U.S., contributed to the project in terms of the logic, circuit and physical design, Intel India said. "We have established without a doubt the capabilities of Indian engineering talent."

Intel announced the development of the wonder chip last week, but the role of engineers at its Bangalore facility escaped attention. The chip, which packs 100 million transistors, burns less power than a typical home appliance and performs more than a trillion calculations per second -- a "teraflop."

The first "teraflop" performance was achieved in 1996 on a supercomputer built by Intel that took up more than 2,000 square feet, was powered by nearly 10,000 Pentium processors and consumed more than 500 kilowatts of electricity. The diminutive new wonder processor delivers the same performance while consuming only 62 watts, but is a development project that is not slated for commercial development, an Intel executive said.

"The learnings we'll take from the project will go into products depending on market demand," said Vittal Kini, director of the Intel India Research Center, who has been with the U.S. company for 24 years.

Intel, whose work force in India has grown from 100 employees in 2000 to about 3,000 last year, has so far invested $1.7 billion in the country. Set up in 1998, the Bangalore facility is Intel's largest non-manufacturing site outside of the U.S. and has filed about 50 patents.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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