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Breaking News: Intel To Lay Off Up To 20,000 Employees

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http://www.breakingnews.ie/2006/09/02/story274964.html

Intel to cut 10,000 jobs worldwide

02/09/2006 - 08:46:28

One of the Ireland's biggest employers looks set to shed 10,000 employees worldwide.
Intel, which has more than 5,500 workers in Ireland, is expected to announce a plan to cut up to one tenth of its staff worldwide.
Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini is to brief staff on Tuesday about the results of an internal report which was commissioned last spring following the company's largest profits drop in four years.
Initial reports have suggested that anything between
10,000 and 20,000
jobs could be cut globally.
Intel shed 5,000 employees in 2001, and a further 4,000 in 2002, but the Irish operations were virtually unaffected by the cuts on those occasions.
It is being speculated that the latest jobs cuts will happen in the marketing division, which again would have
little impact on the Irish facilities
as the company has just one sales and marketing manager in the country.

At least they missed an IR hike at the last ECB meeting.

Edited by Realistbear

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Here's a thought.

You remember all the hoohar about Moore's law and the fact the Western economy depends on the doubling of processor speeds every 18 months or so with the attendant increases in application sophistication that creates further demand...

While I know Intel have demoed 4GHz processors and some geezers have shown (I seem to recall) 7GHz silicon, the chip manufacturers are definately struggling to find anything useful to sell beyond the 3GHz mark. 40-fold increases in polymer doping mask costs for 65nm processes and the static currents which make the devices difficult to run efficiently have proven to be huge stumbling blocks for the industry.

Now, did all this weaken demand for new PCs, driving down prices, or is it the consumer spending downturn, or is it outsourcing to the cheapest manufacturing quarters of the world?

When the western world housing market implodes, will it mask the collapse of Moore's law, or will Moore's law compound it, or are the huge layoffs in all technical industries already being caused predominantly by lack of demand through not being able to offer anything new?

We live in interesting times.

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However, Moore's law does not say that processor speed doubles every 18 months.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moores_law

The real Moore's Law (pretty much that transistor count doubles) seems set to continue for a while, possibly with a somewhat slower doubling time: the real problem is that designing bigger and bigger chips is becoming increasingly difficult: Intel at least have the benefit that most of their CPU is cache memory, which is just a big chunk of replicated transistors.

Oh, and the other big problem is that Joe Sixpack doesn't have anything much useful to do with a 10GHz, octuple-core, 64-bit CPU. He'll still be using it for web browsing, sending emails and watching porn (though I guess 3D animated interactive porn could use up all that CPU power).

Edited by MarkG

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Okay - but getting back to the main thrust of my arguement... It does seem as though generally the industry is fatigued by the familiar drive for higher performance creating increased demand.

The onward march in processor speeds as a result of transistor geometry reduction seems to have slowed significantly. Let me put it like this: This is the beginning of the end of any practical benefit of Moore's Law.

I still think lack of advancement in the PC industry alone is a significant phenomenon that hasn't really been widely reported.

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Yep those intel folk likely to be affected are those in the western climate, so if you work in china, india & eastern europe you'll be safe every where else oops !

Alsoremember the knock on affect if likely to double the numbers

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Let me put it like this: This is the beginning of the end of any practical benefit of Moore's Law.

A 3GHz CPU with two pipelines will often outperform an equivalent 6GHz CPU with one... even if they can't speed up individual transistors, adding more of them will still improve performance for applications which can be parallellised. It will suck for purely serial applications though.

In 3D graphics, for example, much of the improvement in performance in the last few years has come from sticking in more copies of the same 3D hardware, and not from speeding them up. 3D operations can be hugely parallelised, so in general the more pipelines the better.

Yep those intel folk likely to be affected are those in the western climate, so if you work in china, india & eastern europe you'll be safe every where else oops !

A guy I know who used to work for Intel has said that they're probably going to have most future expansion in Asia, because the new engineers they're hiring there are better than the ones they're hiring in America...

Edited by MarkG

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A 3GHz CPU with two pipelines will often outperform an equivalent 6GHz CPU with one... even if they can't speed up individual transistors, adding more of them will still improve performance for applications which can be parallellised. It will suck for purely serial applications though.

*yawn*. I knew this one was a can of worms. Still, there is something in Dell being able to sell 3Gig PCs with 19" TFT displays for around 370 quid, no?

Most of todays applications AREN'T multi-threading, so unless you're a heavy, heavy multi-tasker, multi-core processors won't impress you. All modern operating systems including windows are properly multi-tasking based on a 1mS timer tick - this seems to soak up spare processor capacity even running "serial processes" on a single core unit. And then of course we had hyperthreading for such a long time...

Multi-core is desperation. They need to create demand. They can't go faster, so they go wider. End of. Remember the transputer: It's a lot of effort and no-one really wants to think in parallel, least of all software designers being paid peanuts.

The sector is set for a huge fall that will compound the western economy housing market crash, IMHO.

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http://www.finfacts.com/irelandbusinessnew..._10004162.shtml

Intel, Dell, Pfizer and HP are foreign-owned manufacturing firms in Ireland responsible for 90% of Irish exports. An Irish State-funded report predicts that most of these enterprises will have moved to low-cost economies by 2025. Growth in exports from the dominant indigenous enterprises will remain relatively low.

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Most of todays applications AREN'T multi-threading

That's because most of today's applications are running on single CPUs, or are things like word processors which use about 0.01% of the CPU time anyway. Programmers write applications for computers that exist, not for computers that might exist one day in the distant future.

Multi-core is desperation.

No, it's an alternative path when you can't just clock one core faster. There are many, many applications which will run much faster on dual-core CPUs: the problem is not lack of applications, it's that most things that Joe Sixpack wants to do (other than play the odd game or watch interactive virtual porn) ran just as well on a 400MHz Pentium-II as they do on a 4GHz Pentium-4.

I don't know about you, but 80% of the time my PC is using 1% of the CPU time, and the other 20% it's doing things like games or video compression which will take as many CPU cores as you can throw at it. I'd love to be able to compress an hour-long HD movie to DVD in ten minutes rather than ten hours.

Remember the transputer

Yes, they were great for their time. Sadly INMOS never figured out what market they were aiming for, and totally stuffed up the T9000.

I just wish I'd bought myself an Atari Transputer Workstation when they were sold off cheap, I've never seen one on ebay and with the number they sold I doubt I ever will.

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A small amount of cores is useful, but doing normal functions with a larger amount of cores it gets very difficult to make it go faster because the time you save doing the computation is instead spent setting up the computation and gathering the results.

Most people do not work with large datasets like predicting the weather or doing gene analysis, where the work is easily splittable into a large number of tasks.

In any case I belive people have come up with practical ways of making the silicon switch faster than a couple of Ghz.

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In any case I belive people have come up with practical ways of making the silicon switch faster than a couple of Ghz.

Switching rate isn't the problem: I believe the record for switching a transistor is over 100GHz already. The problem is the leakage current.

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I think another reason why people don't buy a replacement computer every few years is not only have we reached a plateau for ability versus applications but the same old dreary grey (or black and silver) plastic boxes are all people see from the mainstream suppliers - you have to search for slim space effiecient computers that cost similar money. Where is the modern looking, stylish and slim machines our hi-fi's have have managed to become. Bit like the housing market, companies seem have applied the Henry Ford maxim (any colour you want as long as its black), any new home you want as long as its a cr*ppy pastice of tudorbethan/victorian or any computer you want as long as its a grey plastic box.

I bucked the trend and built my own Shuttle XPC which looks lovely compared to my old grey box Mesh and is fully one quarter its size.

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Switching rate isn't the problem: I believe the record for switching a transistor is over 100GHz already. The problem is the leakage current.

Here's one at 110Ghz don't know if it solves the leakage problem.

http://eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/12112/

There was also a breakthrough recently that presented the opertunity of with using carbon nanotubes to conduct electricity between transistors, this may or may not help, who knows.

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I think in the short term Intel Ireland maybe ok. I heard yesterday that Intel are looking at scaling back in sales and marketing and their operations in Israel.

The problem with Intel is that the Fabs (semiconductor manufacturing plant) go out of date after a few years. They usually re-tool the entire clean-room for the latest generation of chip. Although a decent size fab will cost well over a $Billion, they usually pay for themselves within a year or so. At some point I think Intel will stop re-tooling in Ireland - especially if they are having to pay Euro wages with a depreciating dollar.

I've spent a lot of time at their Irish fab. It's huge - there's nothing like it in the UK. It's Intel's biggest Fab outside of the US. I think it is also the biggest single industrial site in Ireland.

It's been there for fifteen years or so and was origianally just a small packaging plant.

But now Intel are building a packaging plant in Vietnam.... Link

Bit depressing really. This is manufacturing at it's most high-tech and even that is heading east.

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What strikes me is the way people blindly carry on as if there is no tommorrow during the good times.

Buying houses at vast multiples of their salary as if the good times are going to stay that way for ever.

Ireland enjoyed a window of opportunity as an EU-aid recipient before Eastern Europe joined the European Union. It cleverly made itself attractive to inward investment. But that window has now gone.

The Eastern and Central European countries are now the chief beneficiaries of funding. These same countries as also emulating the low-tax regime that benefitted Ireland for so long (especially Slovakia and the Baltic states). They are cheaper and comparatively well educated.

The double whammy is that India is also stealing the high-tech service jobs which supported Ireland when the big multi-nationals moved in.

The multinationals are fickle and will go where business conditions are most favourable to them. Ireland has too few of its own companies as "national champions". It has also made itself ridicuously expensive and hence less competitive. The infrastructure is not bad but could be a lot better.

The whole situation was once aptly described as "brass knockers on a barn door".

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The double whammy is that India is also stealing the high-tech service jobs which supported Ireland when the big multi-nationals moved in.

Talking of India: Intel's biggest competitor is AMD who are building India's first fab. A $3 billion investment...

Link

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Thinking about it, another issue that may cause problems is voltage. Power usage for a CPU is something like voltage squared times frequency times number of transistors, and in the time I've been programming computers we've gone from 5V to 1V, which cut the power usage down by a factor of 25. From what I remember of my electronics course, a transistor needs a minimum of about 0.6V to operate, so if that's the case there's only about another factor of three in consumption before reducing voltage to reduce power consumption won't be possible anymore.

Eventually you end up needing liquid sodium cooling to run Windows 2012 on a 5GHz sixteen-core Pentium 10 so you can browse the web and read emails...

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That's because most of today's applications are running on single CPUs, or are things like word processors which use about 0.01% of the CPU time anyway. Programmers write applications for computers that exist, not for computers that might exist one day in the distant future.

No, it's an alternative path when you can't just clock one core faster. There are many, many applications which will run much faster on dual-core CPUs: the problem is not lack of applications, it's that most things that Joe Sixpack wants to do (other than play the odd game or watch interactive virtual porn) ran just as well on a 400MHz Pentium-II as they do on a 4GHz Pentium-4.

I don't know about you, but 80% of the time my PC is using 1% of the CPU time, and the other 20% it's doing things like games or video compression which will take as many CPU cores as you can throw at it. I'd love to be able to compress an hour-long HD movie to DVD in ten minutes rather than ten hours.

Yes, they were great for their time. Sadly INMOS never figured out what market they were aiming for, and totally stuffed up the T9000.

I just wish I'd bought myself an Atari Transputer Workstation when they were sold off cheap, I've never seen one on ebay and with the number they sold I doubt I ever will.

There was an Atari Transputer Workstation on ebay once

http://alive.atari.org/alive7/transput.php

Apart from games /graphics, IMO I don't see the point having a pc with much more than a 1.5 ghz processor on a desktop for your average joe.

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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That's annoying, I wasn't checking ebay at the time.

However, that page has got the price very wrong unless they divided the development cost by the number of workstations sold. The official price was more like 5,000 pounds (http://atw800.complicated.net/pricelist.html) and I think they were eventually sold off for more like 500 when Atari closed down.

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That's annoying, I wasn't checking ebay at the time.

However, that page has got the price very wrong unless they divided the development cost by the number of workstations sold. The official price was more like 5,000 pounds (http://atw800.complicated.net/pricelist.html) and I think they were eventually sold off for more like 500 when Atari closed down.

Sorry you missed it.

I used to run a computer re-use / recycling non profit group. We lived in hope of seeing kit like that, but never did. Wish I'd started looking at & listing on ebay much earlier as well.

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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What will all the affluent shareholders do when they finally run out of cheaper places for their investments to go?

You can move your production facilities around and outsource to cheaper countries only for so long. The corporations that do this must realise that the potential effects on the countries in which most of the shareholders reside cannot be too adverse.

Ireland is a special case as it has a relatively high dependence on forgeign investment for its recent economic prosperity. If hi-tech is on a trend of moving away, then what will be left in its wake?

Intel shedding up to 20,000 jobs worldwide might sound like a lot but in the grand scheme of things is a drop in the ocean. There are many other products, services and hence, jobs which make up the full spectrum of employment.

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Talking of India: Intel's biggest competitor is AMD who are building India's first fab. A $3 billion investment...

Intel are getting spanked by AMD. Why they are loosing people. They have alreday closed some UK buisnesses. I am doing a chip for AMD at the moment. Probably get canned though. Ho hum. Big changes at AMD since they took over ATI.

Edited by gordonbrown

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I think this is really a pivotal point. For years us in the west could dismiss globalisation and outsourcing - it was ok, they were only outsourcing and moving the low skilled work whilst us in the west continued to provide the real skills and knowledge in R+D, design etc.

But now they have caught up.

The semiconductor industry is a good bell weather - I can't remember the exact statistic, but something like 40 percent of the workforce are graduates. This isn't a smelly, dirty, low-skilled industry - it's a highly skilled, highly paid environment paying very high wages....

...and now India and China are competing at this level too...

Either their standard of living takes a dramatic turn for the better or ours takes a dramatic turn for the worse.

Pah, India Schmindia. They might have economic growth, they might take all our jobs but a crappy one-bed flat above KFC sure aint worth a quarter of a million quid in India....

...hmmm. What happens next I wonder?

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