From Home to the Quantum Realm: 3 Companies Push Processor Limitations

August 28, 2021 by Ikimi .O

As the need for better, faster, and safer processing continues to grow, companies like Intel, Cadence, and QuantWare are bringing their A-game to the workplace, vehicles, and quantum computing.

With the ever-increasing demand for high-performing computing for applications like data centers, artificial intelligence, and even consumer electronics, several companies are designing and developing processors that can offer greater functionalities, higher security, and better performance regardless of the workload. 

Hopping on this bandwagon of higher-performing processors, Intel, Cadence, and QuantWare recently released promising processors that target areas from home workspaces to automotive applications. 


One recent processor comes from Intel: the Xeon W-3300.

One recent processor comes from Intel: the Xeon W-3300. Screenshot used courtesy of Intel


This article will look at these three new releases/updates, see what each company is offering and developing while pulling out interesting specs and features of each release.


Xeon W-3300 Processors Target Workplace Professionals

The first new processor release comes from Intel with its Xeon W-3300 processor family. This family includes five new members, which promise to deliver exceptional performance and expanded platform capabilities within a single-socket solution. 

One thing that sets these processors apart is their targeted application. 

Since the pandemic caused a shift from offices to working from home, it became apparent that there was a need for higher performance processors. Aiming to fill this gap, Intel designed the Xeon W-3300 family for advanced workstation professionals who require heavy input/output workloads.

The processors' new core architecture comprises core and thread per socket counts ranging from 12-38 and 24-76. They also include a cache size up to 1.5 MB per core, up to 3.5 GHz base clock speed, and 4 GHz Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0


Intel's Xeon W-3365 vs the AMD Threadripper Pro 3975WX processor.

Intel's Xeon W-3365 vs the AMD Threadripper Pro 3975WX processor. Image used courtesy of Intel


Altogether, these specs suggest they are 27% faster for product development workloads, 47% faster for energy, oil, and gas workloads, and 10% faster for general operations workload when compared to the AMD Threadripper Pro 3975WX processor.

With Intel Xeon W-3300 processors, expert workstation users could easily handle high workload-intensive processes like deep learning, 3D modeling and analysis, audio and video processing, and so much more. Helping these highly intensive applications run are the Intel AVX-512 (Advanced Vector Extensions) and Intel Deep Learning Boost.

Overall, the Intel Xeon W-3300 processors' 8-channel memory capacity support provides sufficient memory and speed required to handle those heavy-duty workloads, as previously mentioned. This enhanced platform claims to deliver up to 2.5x maximum memory support and a 31% increase in memory bandwidth, unlike earlier versions like the Intel Xeon W-3200 processors.

All in all, this processor family is hoping to hit it big by kicking performance up a notch for the workplace professional. Another important area for processors is in the automotive industry, namely safety.


Tensilica Xtensa Updates Safety

Despite being released a while ago, technology can still be constantly improving on itself. Take the latest processor update from Cadence, which claims to offer the highest levels of safety for automotive applications. 

The company recently revealed this update for its Tensilica Xtensa processor: ISO 26262:2018 standard compliance. It attained an ASIL-D rating, which is the top Automotive Safety Integrity Level rating. 

This update is all-encompassing, as it covers everything from the base microcontroller to the high-performance DSP. It also ensures that automotive systems are fault protected with the optional FlexLock configuration that follows a comprehensive safety process. 

Since it finds use cases in vision, lidar, vehicle to everything (V2X), radar, and audio, Cadence's FlexLock-enabled Tensilica Xtensa is well suited for the automotive market especially with this new certification update.

Being an adaptation of the Functional Safety (FuSa) standard IEC 61508 for automotive applications, the ISO 26262 standard ensures FuSa engineers are compliant with managing safety across all levels of vehicle development. 


Tensilica's functional safety diagram.

Tensilica's functional safety diagram. Image used courtesy of Cadence 


Some key benefits of this new update to the Cadence processor include:

  • Design of hardware and software that are FuSa-certified to ASIL-D, ensuring the highest possible safety rating for the processor.
  • Prevention of random failures to ASIL-B and ASIL-D due to SEooC IP certification
  • Ease of IP integration and device certification benefits.
  • More integrity and reliability resulting from third-party ISO 26262-compliant assessors

The malfunctioning of safety-related electrical/electronics systems in vehicles can cause hazards, like injuries from accidents and ultimately death. Others like electric shock, corrosion, radiation, smoke, flammability, and toxicity can also result from this malfunction

As a result, the safety of automotive processors like the Tensilica Xtensia is of great concern to manufacturers. Therefore, the ISO 26262 standard, Cadence's new update for its processor, is crucial to automotive development and for designers to keep in mind when creating the automotive space.

Moving from the realm of automobiles, the final processor in this round-up is leaping quantum computing.


QuantWare’s Soprano Expedites Quantum Computers?

Diving into the quantum realm is QuantWare's recently announced superconducting quantum processor, the 5-qubit QPU Soprano

With this release, QuantWare has accomplished the world's first commercially readily available, off-the-shelf superconducting quantum processing unit (QPU), thus reducing the cost of quantum technology development and leveling the playing field for quantum experimentation.

With quantum computing, data is processed at a much faster rate. Therefore, with this innovation, medical, cybersecurity, business intelligence, and AI fields can now have the extra boost needed by their various research and applications. 

Ultimately, the Soprano processor could successfully speed up the development and adoption of quantum-driven solutions required to solve the most challenging global problems. 

One major way QuantWare is trying to push quantum computing to a mainstream level is by encouraging the design of application-sensitive quantum chips. 

In partnership with software companies, the startup aims at achieving co-designed QPUs, which will specifically be in line with each company's algorithm. That way, each specialized superconducting QPU will have high levels of efficiency for particular applications. 


QuantWare’s Soprano processor.

QuantWare’s Soprano processor. Image used courtesy of QuantWare


The Soprano processor features a modifiable qubit topography, over 10 µs T1, 99.9% single-qubit gate fidelities, and an optional device shielding. It also features customizable AirBridges, Purcell filters, and QuantWare's TSV configuration. 

One thing that sets this processor apart from the rest, besides the quantum aspect, is the superconducting nature of QuantWare's QPU. It incorporates highly customizable qubits that are scalable and easy to control in a productized form, unlike others that can be cumbersome and less compact.

So far, quantum computing for various applications has been available for big companies like Google and IBM with sufficient capital and resources to build and manage large quantum computers. Hopefully, with this compact innovation from QuantWare, quantum computing will be a possibility for smaller players in the industry.

Overall, the world of processing has been crossing major hurdles as the applications and requirements continue to grow. There are sure to be even more announcements and innovations in the near future. 



Interested in other processor news? Read more in the articles down below.

Intel Drops Four New Processor Families at CES

AMD Says Its “Highest-performing Server Processor” Is Here

A RISC-V Future? SiFive and Andes Aim to Shake Up the Processor Industry