R&D investment is critical for enabling us to deliver a predictable cadence of leadership products and extend our reach to accelerate our growth. Successful R&D efforts can lead to new products and technologies or improvements to existing ones, which we seek to protect through our IP rights. We may augment our R&D initiatives by acquiring or investing in companies, entering into R&D agreements, and directly purchasing or licensing technology.
Every year we make significant investments in R&D and we have intensified our focus on areas key to product leadership. Our objective is to improve user experiences and value through advances in performance, power, cost, connectivity, security, form factor, and other features with each new generation of products. We are also focused on reducing our design complexity, re-using IP, and increasing ecosystem collaboration to improve our efficiency, including a significant reduction of design rules for future process nodes.
Process and Packaging. We are creating a new wave of compute engines that mix and match different process technologies and then connect them with high-performance, low-power packaging technologies like EMIB1 and Foveros1, the industry's first implementation of stacked processing components. This disaggregated design approach allows us to manufacture different components of a chip on different processes, giving us the flexibility to use the process that best serves our customers.
xPU architecture. The future is a diverse mix of scalar, vector, matrix, and spatial architectures deployed in CPU, GPU, accelerator, and FPGA sockets, enabled by a scalable software stack and integrated into systems by advanced packaging technology. We are building processors that span four major computing architectures, moving toward an era of heterogeneous computing:
Memory. With our Intel® OptaneTM technology, we are developing products to disrupt the memory and storage hierarchy.
Interconnect. We deliver leading technologies that scale across all interconnect layers, spanning on-die, on-package, data center, and long-distance networks.
Security. We continue to deliver innovation to the market across foundational security, workload protection, and software reliability. We are working with customers and partners to build a more trusted foundation in a data-centric world.
Software. Software unleashes the potential of our hardware platforms across all workloads, domains, and architectures.
1 Intel's definition is included in "Key Terms" within the Financial Statements and Supplemental Details.
We own and develop significant IP and related IP rights around the world that support our products, services, R&D, and other activities and assets. Our IP portfolio includes patents, copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks, mask work, and other rights. We actively seek to protect our global IP rights and to deter unauthorized use of our IP and other assets. For a detailed discussion of our IP rights, see "Intellectual Property Rights and Licensing" within Other Key Information.
In addition to pledging funds, Intel gave COVID-19 scientists and researchers free access to our vast worldwide intellectual property portfolio this year in the hope and belief that making this intellectual property freely available to them will save lives. We will continue to invent—and protect—our intellectual property, but we offered it freely to those working to protect people from the pandemic.
—Steve Rodgers, Executive Vice President and General Counsel