Daily Israel Report

Intel Opens Computational Intelligence Center in Israel

Collaborative project brings together experts from Haifa Technion and Hebrew University, with initial $15M 5-year budget.
By Yoni Kempinski & Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/24/2012, 5:46 PM

Citing Israel's "tremendous intellectual talent," Intel has opened a center for Computational Intelligence (CI) research in Israel, with the collaboration of the Haifa Technion and Hebrew University. "It was only natural that when we started to think about where we'd might locate a new research institute that we'd want to look at Israel," Justin Rattner, Intel's Chief Technology Officer, told Arutz Sheva.

The purpose of the Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Computational Intelligence is broadly described as the study of future interaction between people and computers. The initial investment in the institute is $15 million for the first five years of operation. It will employ about 40 researchers from the two universities, another 40 students for advanced degrees, and several Intel employees. Researchers from other universities will also join the project.

Rattner said that the institute is the eighth center Intel has opened as part of an effort to work in collaboration with academic institutions. Five such centers operate in the United States, and two others have been set up in a small town in Germany and in Taiwan.

The institute will develop algorithms that enable computers to "learn" by example, computing patterns inspired by the human brain, and advanced computer architectures. These technologies will make it possible to develop future applications that "get to know" the user and assist him in real time.

While computers perform certain actions better and faster than humans, they are still not very good at certain types of tasks that humans – and even animals – find simple, such as learning and recognition. Intel plans to have brain researchers work alongside computer architecture and network experts to develop computers' abilities to perform these tasks.

"Computers are about to get a lot more intelligent and behave a lot more like human beings," Rattner explained. CI will enable security cameras in city centers to identify unusual events – such as criminal or terrorist attacks – quickly and without the need for human presence.

Another possible application is an application that observes and studies users' behavior patterns and offers assistance. For instance, the app will be able to tell us where we left our keys last night, or remind us to take our keys with us before we go out the door.  

The institute will be led by Prof. Uri Weiser of the Technion, Prof. Naftali Tishbi of Hebrew University and Ronny Ronen, a senior chief engineer at Intel.