The Stack Archive News Article

Intel CEO addresses Meltdown, announces quantum developments

Wed 10 Jan 2018

Intel boss Brian Krzanich took to the stage at CES to address the Meltdown and Spectre news, as well as announcing the firm’s plans for quantum computing.

Speaking at the keynote address, Krzanich spoke on a diverse range of topics, but was first compelled to address the elephant in the room.

Recent revelations about processor architectures within Intel chips which has the potential to affect almost all computers and users worldwide, either by making sensitive data vulnerable or massively slowing down processing times, have made headline news globally.

Particularly galling for many was the news that a number of huge industry names were in the know, but had chosen to resolve the problem and then release the news en masse, as a damage limitation exercise. However, some digging by those in the media revealed the problem before this could happen.

Now, there are rumblings of a massive class-action lawsuit against the firm. But Krzanich remained positive on stage in Las Vegas, saying: “Before we start, I want to take a moment to thank the industry for coming together to address the recent security research findings reported as Meltdown and Spectre.

“The collaboration among so many companies to address this industry-wide issue across several different processor architectures has been truly remarkable. Security is job number one for Intel and our industry. As of now, we have not received any information that these exploits have been used to obtain customer data. And we are working tirelessly on these issues to ensure it stays that way.”

He also noted that Intel is planning to issue updates for more than 90% of processors introduced in the last five years within the week. The remaining should be updated by the end of the month. According to Krzanich, the performance of different workloads will be affected differently, given the ‘workload-dependent’ nature of these updates.

Having done his bit on the negative news, Krzanich steered his speech towards Intel’s developments in the field of quantum computing. Two months after releasing a 17-qubit superconducting test chip, the firm announced Tangle Lake, a chip with 49-qubits.

According to Krzanich, this development will go some way towards allowing the still-nascent quantum computing to fulfil its potential. Particularly important is the ability of quantum computers to solve problems that would take existing supercomputers years or months to solve, in far less time.


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