Interview with CTO of Intel, Greg Lavender

Greg Lavender holds several key roles at Intel, including executive vice-president, chief technology officer (CTO), and general manager of the Software and Advanced Technology Group (SATG). As CTO, he oversees Intel’s future technical innovation and research programs, while as general manager of SATG, he is responsible for developing an artificial intelligence (AI) software stack to support the company’s diverse business and hardware offerings.

Lavender’s career began as a network software engineer in 1983. After completing his PhD in networking in 1993, he spent 14 years as a computer science professor at the University of Texas in Austin. During this time, he also founded several companies as he realized the need to monetize his ideas instead of solely publishing academic papers.

Throughout his career, Lavender has demonstrated an ability to bridge the gap between pure research and practical applications. His experience working commercially during the early days of the internet allowed him to anticipate industry trends and make strategic decisions. Lavender’s connection with Pat Gelsinger, the current CEO of Intel, formed during their co-engineering partnership at Sun Microsystems, where Lavender was employed as the head of Solaris engineering.

In his current role as Intel’s CTO, Lavender focuses on addressing the challenges of artificial intelligence and data privacy. Confidential computing is a priority for Intel to protect private data, particularly during the training phase of AI models. Intel collaborates with European governments on the concept of sovereign clouds, and the company’s platforms with built-in privacy-preserving capabilities are valuable to regulated industries such as finance, healthcare, and telecommunications.

Lavender also recognizes the growing importance of edge computing and the need for confidential computing in this area. Edge computing, where inferencing happens after training, faces risks of hacking. Intel sees a market opportunity for its confidential computing technology in securing AI models at the edge.

Intel has ambitious plans for investment in Europe, aiming to allocate up to €80bn over the next decade for various activities including research and development, manufacturing, and packaging technologies. In Germany, Intel plans to build a $33bn chip manufacturing site with one-third of the cost covered by the German government. In Spain, Intel is partnering with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center to develop a zettascale architecture for the next decade.

Despite some delays due to factors like geopolitics, Intel remains committed to Europe and looks forward to strengthening partnerships with its European counterparts. Lavender attests to his positive interactions with European governments and expresses optimism about future collaboration in Europe.

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