About

About Intel Labs Seattle

If you visit the Intel Labs Seattle near the University of Washington campus, you may find a Ph.D. student in deep discussion with an Intel researcher. A seminar on mobile computing open to the research community might be in session, while elsewhere in the lab a project team gathers around a robot to test their latest control algorithms. The atmosphere is collegial and the feeling is open and inviting.

Founded in 2001, Intel Labs Seattle is one of three "university lablets" in Intel Labs. Like its sister labs, Intel Labs Berkeley near UC Berkeley and Intel Labs Pittsburgh on the CMU campus, Intel Labs Seattle has roughly twenty permanent staff plus an equal number of associated graduate and undergraduate students, interns, faculty, and visitors. Each lab has a different research focus in support of the Intel Labs vision of the future of computing. The Seattle lab is a Center of Excellence in Context-Aware Sensor-Driven Systems. Interdisciplinary projects and an emphasis on prototyping novel systems and user evaluation drive this agenda. The research staff are recognized experts across a range of topics from sensing and wireless systems, through robotics and computer vision, to human-computer interaction. As a "university lab", Intel Labs Seattle is based on an innovative model of industry-university research that Intel has pioneered to enhance and accelerate long-term research. Under this model, much research is conducted by Intel researchers in collaboration with faculty and students all year round and is openly published. The lab has close ties to the University of Washington: Intel researchers are Affiliate Faculty or collaborators with Computer Science & Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Public Health, Aero & Astro, Medicine, Nursing, and the iSchool. It's a win-win arrangement designed to generate breakthrough research results.

Further information on Intel Labs Seattle projects and staff is available as an overview brochure and elsewhere on this website. Intel Labs Seattle also holds an annual open house to showcase its research, and this event is open to the research community.

Open Collaborative Research

The Open Collaborative Research (OCR) model enables labs to work closely on joint projects with university researchers. The OCR model was pioneered by Intel and designed to avoid the conflicts over intellectual property (IP) rights that delay or constrain many traditional university-industry collaborations. It emphasizes close collaboration with the university and non-exclusive rights to IP. The labs are owned and funded by Intel, but much of their research is published and widely shared.

One unique aspect of Intel's university labs is that the position of lab director draws from the nearby university and rotates every three years. This creates deep ties between the lab and university and ensures that the research agendas stay fresh. For example, the Seattle Lab is directed by Dieter Fox, who succeeded David Wetherall, James Landay, and Gaetano Borriello to become the fourth director. This has strengthened the AI, systems, HCI, and ubiquitous computing expertise in the lab, respectively, as part of a steady evolution of the research focus of the lab.

This model has succeeded in practice in many respects. It provides the labs with access to the best and brightest via collaboration with faculty, students and interns. It attracts top research talent; in several cases Intel Labs staff have landed prestigious academic jobs after working at the university labs. It expands the local research community, bringing expertise and resources physically near the university. It removes traditional barriers to innovation between corporate and university labs. Most of all it helps to generate breakthrough research results by placing cutting-edge technology not available elsewhere in the hands of innovative researchers.

About Intel Labs

Intel Labs Seattle is part of the Academic Programs and Research (APR) arm of Intel Labs. While Intel Labs, directed by Justin Rattner, is broadly chartered with delivering breakthrough benefits of the digital revolution, APR, directed by Shekhar Borkar, focuses on foundational, exploratory research with the potential for dramatic impact.

APR includes several labs with deep collaborative ties with both universities and Intel product groups. Three university labs in Seattle, Berkeley and Pittsburgh are located nearby their primary external collaboration partners, the University of Washington, UC Berkeley and CMU, respectively.