Research and Development
We are committed to investing in world-class technology development, particularly in the design and manufacture of integrated circuits. Research and development (R&D) expenditures were $8.4 billion in 2011 ($6.6 billion in 2010 and $5.7 billion in 2009).
Our R&D activities are directed toward developing the technology innovations (such as three-dimensional Tri-Gate and Hi-k metal gate transistor technologies) that we believe will deliver our next generation of products, which will in turn enable new form factors and usage models for businesses and consumers. Our R&D activities range from designing and developing new products and manufacturing processes to researching future technologies and products.
We are focusing our R&D efforts on advanced computing technologies, developing new microarchitectures, advancing our silicon manufacturing process technology, delivering the next generation of microprocessors and chipsets, improving our platform initiatives, and developing software solutions and tools to support our technologies. Our R&D efforts enable new levels of performance and address areas such as energy efficiency, security, scalability for multi-core architectures, system manageability, and ease of use. We continue to make significant R&D investments in the development of SoCs to enable growth in areas such as smartphones, tablets, and embedded applications. In addition, we continue to make significant investments in wireless technologies, graphics, and high-performance computing.
As part of our R&D efforts, we plan to introduce a new microarchitecture for our notebook, Ultrabook system, desktop, and Intel Xeon processors approximately every two years and ramp the next generation of silicon process technology in the intervening years. We refer to this as our "tick-tock" technology development cadence. In 2011, we started manufacturing products (formerly code named Ivy Bridge) using our new 22nm three-dimensional Tri-Gate transistor process technology (22nm process technology). This technology is the first to use a three-dimensional transistor design, which is expected to improve performance and energy efficiency compared to the existing two-dimensional transistor structure, and significantly decreases the power targets for notebook processors. We expect to begin manufacturing products using a new microarchitecture using our 22nm process technology in 2012. We are currently developing 14nm process technology, our next-generation process technology, and expect to begin manufacturing products using that technology in 2013. Our leadership in silicon technology has enabled us to make "Moore's Law" a reality. Moore's Law predicted that transistor density on integrated circuits would double about every two years.
Our leadership in silicon technology has also helped expand on the advances anticipated by Moore's Law by bringing new capabilities into silicon and producing new products optimized for a wider variety of applications. We have accelerated the Intel Atom processor-based SoC roadmap for netbooks, smartphones, tablets, and other devices, from 32nm through 22nm to 14nm within three successive years. Intel Atom processors will eventually be on the same process technology as our leading-edge products. We expect that this acceleration will result in a significant reduction in transistor leakage, lower active power, and an increase in transistor density to enable more powerful smartphones, tablets, and netbooks with more features and longer battery life.
Our R&D model is based on a global organization that emphasizes a collaborative approach to identifying and developing new technologies, leading standards initiatives, and influencing regulatory policies to accelerate the adoption of new technologies, including joint pathfinding conducted between researchers at Intel Labs and our business groups. We centrally manage key cross-business group product initiatives to align and prioritize our R&D activities across these groups. In addition, we may augment our R&D activities by investing in companies or entering into agreements with companies that have similar R&D focus areas, as well as directly purchasing intellectual property rights (IP) applicable to our R&D initiatives.