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Intel Labs Director Talks Quantum, Probabilistic, and Neuromorphic Computing

Rich Uhlig, who took over Intel Labs late last year, discusses Intel’s vision for the future of computing

6 min read
A photo shows the exterior of Intel's headquarters with the company's logo on prominent display.
Photo: iStockphoto

Intel has done pretty well for itself by consistently figuring out ways of making CPUs faster and more efficient. But with the end of Moore’s Law lurking on the horizon, Intel has been exploring ways of extending computing with innovative new architectures at Intel Labs.

Quantum computing is one of these initiatives, and Intel Labs has been testing its own 49-qubit processors. Beyond that, Intel Labs is exploring neuromorphic computing (emulating the structure and, hopefully, some of the functionality of the human brain with artificial neural networks) as well as probabilistic computing, which is intended to help address the need to quantify uncertainty in artificial intelligence applications.

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This photo shows a man holding a silver sphere that is about the size of a bowling ball. A seated women stares at the ball. Behind her, others wait their turns.

People queue up to have their irises scanned at an outdoor sign-up event for Worldcoin in Indonesia.

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In a college classroom in the Indian city of Bangalore last August, Moiz Ahmed held up a volleyball-size chrome globe with a glass-covered opening at its center. Ahmed explained to the students that if they had their irises scanned with the device, known as the Orb, they would be rewarded with 25 Worldcoins, a soon-to-be released cryptocurrency. The scan, he said, was to make sure they hadn’t signed up before. That’s because Worldcoin, the company behind the project, wants to create the most widely and evenly distributed cryptocurrency ever by giving every person on the planet the same small allocation of coins.

Some listeners were enthusiastic, considering the meteoric rise in value that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin since they launched. “I found it to be a very unique opportunity,” said Diksha Rustagi. “You can probably earn a lot from Worldcoin in the future.” Others were more cautious, including a woman who goes by Chaitra R, who hung at the back of the classroom as her fellow students signed up. “I have a lot of doubts,” she said. “We would like to know how it’s going to help us.”

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