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An insight into Intel

Intel's Developer Forums (IDF) give the companies it works with an insight into where its technology is going. It's like drawing the curtains back just a fraction. Sometimes you have a clear image, in other cases, all you can see are indistinct images through a mist.

That's the case with last week's IDF, when Intel tantalisingly dangled the prospect of an Atom/fpga combo chip in front of attendees. Apart from saying it would feature an Altera fpga, not much else was made known.

So guesswork comes into play. What applications would Intel aim such a device at? FPGAs are great for enabling interfaces; could the company be looking at industrial automation, where engineers have to deal with a range of often proprietary interfaces? And, because fpgas are reprogrammable, the possibility exists of reconfiguring an Atom/fpga combo 'on the fly' to undertake a new task.

It's an interesting approach but, as they say, there are more questions than answers.

Graham Pitcher

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