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How Justin Rattner built Intel's secret weapon

Rob Enderle | July 15, 2013
Intel CTO Justin Rattner, who recently announced his departure, leaves behind a legacy of putting people back in technology development. He helped put Intel chips in more products, but he also encouraged innovation that improves everyday life. Because of Rattner, today's college students want to be tomorrow's engineers.

Robots, portrayed as dangerous to humans in movies such as Terminator and I, Robot, will more likely be helpful if the humans who will eventually use them grow up with them and think through the development process. In a very real sense, Intel is actively defining the future, thanks to Bell and Johnson and as a result of Rattner's amazing vision.

Engaging With the Next Generation of Engineers
Intel, arguably more than other technology firms, aggressively engages with universities worldwide to create this future. Part of the reason is the open source development effort, but a great deal comes from the interesting projects Intel drives. These include projected touch workspaces, which let you interact with a projection much like you would a touchscreen, and artificial intelligence systems that actively manages and monitors discussion groups to both enhance the discussions and identify trends and conflicts. Imagine this processor-intensive AI use as a potentially defining feature of Facebook or Google+.

Students who work on practical projects find school far more engaging and interesting and arrive on the job market more capable of hitting the ground running for the companies they work for. Rattner helped create a system where learning is fun, effective and a strong foundation for success. A lot of young engineers will owe their eventual success to Rattner.

Age is but a number, and while it's a shame that Rattner is stepping down, he leaves an organization that will always carry his mark and a generation of young engineers who will always carry his banner. Rattner has put humans into the development process and discovered that giving technology away can be far more beneficial to a company that creating it but failing to capitalize on it.

Rattner is a man before his time. I hope-no, expect-that he has many years ahead to do more incredible things. Rattner, it's been a pleasure to walk in your shadow, and I hope to continue to do so for the remainder of my own life. vaya con dios. You've earned it.


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