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Intel doubles down on hybrid chip architecture, unveils 28 new 12th-gen Intel Core mobile processors and 22 desktop processors



CES may be going ahead as a shortened, pared-down operation this year, but we’re still seeing a decent swathe of announcements prepared for the event still coming out into the wild, in particular among chipmakers who power the world’s computers. Intel has been a regular presence at the show and is continuing that with its run of news today, focusing on the newest, 12th generation of its mobile chip with versions aimed both at enterprises and consumers, alongside updates to its Evo computing platform concept, new 35- and 65-watt processors for desktop, and vPro platform launches.

With some of the lineup announced back in October (it has now dropped the Alder Lake naming that appeared still to be in use then) today’s news is arguably the biggest push that Intel has made in years to promote its processors and build for a range of use cases, ranging from consumers through to more intense gaming, through to enterprise applications and IoT deployments.  After what some described as a lacklustre 11th-generation launch, here Intel is unveiling no less than 28 new 12th-generation Intel Core mobile processors, and an addition 22 desktop processors.

Intel claims that the mobile processors are clocking in speeds of up to 40% faster than its previous generations

“Intel‘s new performance hybrid architecture is helping to accelerate the pace of innovation and the future of compute,” said Gregory Bryant, executive vice president and general manager of Intel’s Client Computing Group, in a statement. “We want to bring that idea of ubiquitous computing to life,” he added in a presentation today at CES.

The H-series of the 12th Gen Intel core mobile processors come in four main categories, i3, i5, i7, and i9. The i9-12900HK is the fastest of the range of eight and are one of the first from Intel to build performance and efficient cores together on the same chip to better handle heavy workloads. They come with frequencies of up to 5GHz, 14 cores (6 for performance, 8 for efficiency) and 20 threads for applications that are multi-threaded, and they also offer memory support for DDR5/LPDDR5 and DDR4/LPDDR4 modules up to 4800 MT/s. Intel says this is a first in the industry for H-series mobile processors.

They offer support for Deeplink for optimized power usage; Thunderbolt 4 for faster data transfers (up to 40 Gbps) and connectivity; and Intel’s new integrated WiFi 6E, which Intel dubs its “Killer” WiFi and will be available in nearly all laptops running Intel’s 12th generation chips. The interesting thing about this latest WiFi version is that it essentially optimizes for gameplay and other bandwidth-intensive activities: latency is created by putting the most powerful applications on channels separate from the rest of the applications on a device that might also be using bandwidth (these are relegated to lower bandwidth channels) that now essentially run in the background. Bands can also be merged intelligently by the system when more power for a specific application is needed. All this will be available from February 2022, Intel said.

H-series, it added, is now in full production, with Acer, Dell, Gigabyte, HP, Lenovo, MSi, and Razer among those building machines using it, some 100 designs in all covering both Windows and Chrome operating systems.

In terms of applications that Intel is highlighting for its chip use, in addition to enterprises and more casual consumers, it continues to focus on gaming. No surprise there, given the demands of the most advanced games and gamers today, which have become major drivers for improving compute power. To that end, Intel is making sure its chips are in that mix with the 12th-generation chip.

That has included both investing in gaming companies (such as Razer), as well as working closely with developers to optimize speeds on its processors. Intel said that work with Hitman 3, for example, so that its chips could support the audio and graphics processing in the game increased frame rates by up to 8%. 

“Tuning games to achieve maximum performance can be daunting,” says Maurizio de Pascale, chief technology officer at IO Interactive, in a statement. “But partnering with Intel and leveraging their decades of expertise has yielded fantastic results – especially optimizing for the powerful 12th Gen Intel Core processors. As an example, anyone who plays on a laptop

Content application remains another major part of the market for Intel, with customers building software and hardware optimized for its chips including Adobe, Autodesk, Foundry Blender, Dolby, Dassault, Magix and more. Indeed, the processor now sites at the centre of all of these as they live as digital activities. They also represent a large number of verticals that Intel can target, including product designers, engineers, broadcasting and streaming, architects, creators, scientific visualization.

The 22 new processors getting unveiled are coming in both 65 watt and 35 watt varieties. Alongside the higher wattage (and thus higher energy consuming) chip, Intel also launched a new Laminar cooler.

Another strand of Intel’s work over the last several years has been to approach the specifications of computers running its chips in a more holistic way to integrate what it is building with where it can be put to use, by way of its Evo platform and Project Athena. Intel said that there are not more than 100 co-engineered designs using the 12th-generation chips based on these, ranging from foldable displays to more standard laptops, with many of them launching during the first half of this year.

Evo specifications already cover responsiveness, battery life, instant wake, and fast charge, and Intel said that a new addition to that range will be a new parameter, “intelligent collaboration”, which will be focused on how many of us are using computers today, for remote collaboration, videoconferencing and the features that make it better such as AI-based noise cancellation, better WiFi usage, and enhanced camera and other imaging effects. This will be likely where its $100-$150 million acquisition of screen mirroring tech provider Screenovate, which it confirmed in December, will fit.

At a time when Intel continues to face a lot of competition from the likes of AMD and Nvidia, and Apple makes yet more moves to distance itself from the company, continuing to move ahead and reinforce the partners that it does have, and build an ecosystem around that, is the strategy that the company will continue to pursue, as long as it keeps up its end of the innovation bargain.

“Microsoft and Intel have a long history of partnering together to deliver incredible performance and seamless experiences to people all over the world,” said Panos Panay, chief product officer at Microsoft, in a statement. “Whether playing the latest AAA title, encoding 8K video or developing complex geological models, the combination of Windows 11 and the new 12th-gen Intel Core mobile processors means you’re getting a powerhouse experience.”

Source: Tech


Baidu’s electric car brand Jidu closes $400M Series A round



Once an industry with long development cycles, the automotive space is being upended by China’s tech giants. One can hardly keep up with all the new electric vehicle brands that come out of the country nowadays. Jidu, an electric carmaking company founded by Baidu and its Chinese auto partner Geely only a year ago, said Wednesday it has banked nearly $400 million in a Series A funding round.

The new injection, bankrolled by Baidu and Geely, which owns Volvo, is a boost to the $300 million initiation capital that Jidu closed last March. The proceeds will speed up Jidu’s R&D and mass production process and allow it to showcase its first concept “robocar” — which it classifies as an automotive robot rather than a car — at the Beijing auto show in April. The mass-produced version of the robocar will launch in 2023.

Jidu’s chief executive Xia Yiping previously headed the connected car unit of Fiat Chrysler in the APAC region and co-founded Mobike, the Chinese bike-sharing pioneer acquired by Meituan in 2018.

The rate at which Jidu has moved forward is remarkable but could easily attract skeptics who question its tech’s viability. The speedy cycle, the carmaker explained, is thanks to its strategy of using a simulated prototype car to develop its smart cockpit and autonomous driving systems, rather than testing individual hardware parts in a mass-produced vehicle.

The carmaker said in as short as nine months, it has “tested and proven” the safety and reliability of its Level 4 (autonomous driving without human interaction in most circumstances) capabilities for urban and highway roads.

The EV startup is also putting a big emphasis on branding and fan community, something its competitor Nio is known for. In December, it started recruiting car lovers to join its “Jidu Union” to geek out about cars at online and offline events.

Moving forward, Jidu will be hiring and training talent specializing in autonomous driving, smart cockpits, smart manufacturing and other related technologies.

Source: Tech

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Resilience raises $45 million for its cancer care startup



French startup Resilience announced yesterday that it has raised a $45 million (€40 million) Series A round led by Cathay Innovation. The startup wants to improve the treatment journey when you’re diagnosed with cancer so that you live a healthier and longer life.

In addition to Cathay Innovation, existing investor Singular is also participating. Other funds are joining the round, such as Exor Seeds, Picus Capital and Seaya Ventures. Finally some healthcare investors are rounding up the round — Fondation Santé Service, MACSF, Ramsay Santé and Vivalto Ventures.

I already profiled Resilience in March 2021 so I encourage you to read my previous article to learn more about the company. Co-founded by two serial entrepreneurs, Céline Lazorthes and Jonathan Benhamou, the company wants to help both patients and caregivers when it comes to cancer care.

On the patient side, Resilience helps you measure, understand and deal with the effects and side effects of cancer and cancer treatments. Users can track various data points in the app and find content and information about their illness.

But Resilience isn’t just an app that you use at home. It is also a software-as-a-service solution for hospitals so that they can better personalize their treatments. Resilience has been founded in partnership with Gustave Roussy, one of the leading cancer research institutes in the world.

Practitioners will be able to take advantage of all the data that patients have gathered from the app. This way, cancer treatment facilities understand the patient better and can adapt their care more quickly. Resilience has acquired Betterise to gain a head start when it comes to data-driven cancer care.

The long-term vision is even more ambitious than that. If you talk with a caregiver working for a cancer treatment facility, they’ll tell you they never have enough time.

And it’s even more difficult to keep track of new treatments that are becoming more and more specialized. Resilience doesn’t want to replace doctors. But it wants to help them overcome blindspots.

The result should be better care for patients, as well as more support through the Resilience app. Cancer care is a long and painful process, so anything that can improve this process is a good thing.

Source: Tech

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PQShield raises $20M for its quantum-ready, future-proof cryptographic security solutions



Quantum computing promises to unlock a new wave of processing power for the most complex calculations, but that could prove to be just as harmful as it is helpful: security specialists warn that malicious hackers will be able to use quantum machines to break through today’s standards in cryptography and encryption. Today, a startup called PQShield that is working on “future-proof” cryptographic products — software and hardware solutions that not only keep data secure today, but also secure in anticipation of a computationally more sophisticated tomorrow — is announcing some funding as it finds some significant traction for its approach.

The startup, spun out of the research labs at Oxford, has raised $20 million, a Series A that it will be using to continue its research and, in conjunction with partners and customers, product development. The startup is already staffed with an impressive number of PhDs and other researchers across the UK (its base remains in Oxford), the U.S., France and the Netherlands, but it will also be using the funds to recruit more talent to the team.

Addition, the investment firm founded by Lee Fixel, is leading this round with Oxford Science Enterprises (formerly known as OSI) and Crane also participating. The latter two are previous backers from PQShield’s $7 million seed round in 2020.

If machine learning is shaping up to be one of the more popular (and perhaps most obvious) applications for quantum computing, security is perhaps that theme’s most ominous leitmotif.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology in the U.S. identified the risks of using quantum computing for malicious security intent some eight years ago and has been receiving research submissions globally in search of coming up with some standards to counteract that threat. (PQShield is one of the contributors.) Based on signals from other government bodies like the Department of Homeland Security — coupled with a memo from the White House just earlier this month mandating that the government’s intelligence and defense services make the switch to “quantum-resistant” algorithms in 180 days — it looks like the standards process will be completed this year, getting the wheels in motion for companies that are building solutions to address all this.

“One memo can change everything,” PQShield’s CEO and founder Ali El Kaafarani said in an interview.

PQShield (the PQ stands for “post-quantum”) has been working with governments, OEMs and others that are part of the customer base for this technology — adopting it to secure their systems, or building components that will be going into products that will secure their data, or in some cases, both. Its customers includes both private and public organizations impacted by the threat. Bosch is one OEM name that it has disclosed, and El Kaafarani said more will be revealed when PQShield announces its first commercially available solutions. (Other sectors it’s working with include automotive OEM, industrial IoT, and technology consulting, it says.)

PQShield’s solutions, meanwhile, are currently coming in three formats. There is a system on a chip that is designed to sit on hardware like smartcards or processors. It also is making software by way of a cryptographic SDK that can be integrated into mobile and server apps and technologies used to process data or run security operations. And thirdly, in a new addition since it raised its seed round, it’s making a toolkit aimed at communications companies designed specifically to secure messaging services. This latter is perhaps the one that might most immediately touch the consumer market, which has been fertile ground for malicious hackers, and has increasingly become a focus for regulators and ordinary people concerned about how and where their data gets used.

All of these, El Kaafarani said, are designed to work together, or separately as needed by a would-be customer, with the key being that what it is building now can be used today, as well as in a quantum computing future.

The idea of a “quantum threat” might sound remote to most people, considering that we’re still some years away from quantum computing becoming a commercial, scalable industry, but the reality is that malicious hackers have been collecting data that will help them “solve” current cryptographic keys using those machines for years at this point. Some of this data has been publicly shown off, and much has not. All of this has been leading, El Kaafarani noted, to an “inflection point where people are now ready to think about the next phase of public key infrastructure,” which he summed up in layman’s terms as the difference between “math that is still easy to solve, and math that will still be very difficult to solve, even on a quantum computer,” due to particular combinations of math problems and aspects of complexity theory.

Quantum computing, even at its still largely nascent stage, has been fueling a lot of startup and big-tech activity. Atom Computing (which designs quantum computing systems) and Terra Quantum (building quantum-computing-as-a-service, given the likely high cost of these machines) each raised $60 million earlier this month. Intel, IBM and Amazon are among those that have making significant investments in quantum servers and processors for years now. There are others also working specifically on quantum security.

In that context, PQShield groundbreaking role in helping develop standards, and its existing network of customers and partners, spells a clear opportunity and promise for investors:

“Thanks to an industry-leading team, decades of combined experience and a best-in-class product offering, PQShield has quickly emerged as a front runner and true authority in post-quantum cryptography for hardware and software, a field with enormous market potential,” said Fixel in a statement. “PQShield is already helping to define the future of information security, and we are excited to support their ongoing growth.”

Source: Tech

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