Once in a life time project

Have you ever worked on a project, or with a team than just “clicked”?  Everyone was excited to be at work.  They worked well together.  And while there were of course many challenges, everyone worked through them and the end result was something special? I worked on one such team back in the mid-90’s.  The team was a silicon design and marketing team here at Intel, and the end result was the P6 processor (the official name was the Pentium Pro processor).  That may be too long ago for many of you to remember this product…I guess I’m showing my age.  But the P6 was a revolutionary product.

So what made this team click?  I think it was the fact that we all knew we were doing something special; something that had never been done before. The P6 was the first out-of-order, Super-scale, Super-pipelined, Speculative execution, glue less MP x86 processor every produced.  And the jump in performance as compared to previous generation x86 processors was the biggest ever seen at that time.

What is interesting is that most people, who worked on that project, have a very similar view.  All look very fondly back at that project, there were special friendships created during that project which exist today, and even though many years have past, and many project have come and gone since them, the P6 was something special; a once-in-a-lifetime project which most remember as the best project the ever worked on.  I’ve been at Intel for 23 years, and the P6 is still the best project I ever worked on.

So why all the reminiscing?  Because the soon to be released Nehalem project (aka Intel(r) Xeon(r) processor 5500 Series for servers and workstations, and also known as the Intel® Core i7 processor for desktop)  has many of the same attributes as the P6 project.  While times have changed, and working in a global environment means you cannot duplicate all the things that made the P6 team so special (in particular a close, tight nit group of people working at a single site), there are many things about the Nehalem project which make it special.  While I can’t disclose all the details just yet, look for follow-on to this blog after the product launch where I can describe some if the things which truly make the Nehalem product revolutionary.  Things that make me just sit back and say wow!  What this team accomplished is truly amazing!