One Intel Employee’s Deep Dive

When Intel’s Ken Brown says he’s doing a deep dive, that’s precisely what he means. Ken–he’s the guy in the black flippers–has been spearheading a remarkable undersea photography project. (And Intel support has been pivotal. More on that in a moment.)

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Diving to depths up to 100 feet at an astoundingly rich coral reef off Little Cayman Island in the Caribbean, Ken and his extended team are now shooting and assembling a super high-resolution “Portrait of a Coral Reef.” The monster image–created from as many as 500 individual hi-rez shots, and stitched into a single eye-popping terabye-size image–will show the dazzling ecological richness of the so-called Great Wall West, with its teeming schools of multicolored fish and coral formations and plant life.

This is “one of the world’s hotspots for marine diversity,” Ken says. He won support for his project by applying for a grant under Intel’s Sustainability in Action Program (SIA). Ken’s was one of nine employee projects that Intel funded in 2010. SIA is open to all Intel employees and its mission is to empower and encourage employees to grow Intel’s environmental leadership within and beyond the walls of Intel. It’s a unique employee program that further points to Intel’s serious commitment to sustainability and environmental protection.

Once he snagged that Intel SIA grant, Ken got busy. He has now leveraged the $20,000 grant from Intel to win in-kind donations from top-flight underwater film makers, diving and photography companies, and others–totaling about a quarter-million dollars.

Intel technology–a cluster of multi-core based systems–will do sophisticated image crunching for researchers at the University of California at San Diego who are studying changes in the fragile reef over the last decade due to factors such as climate change, pollution, and invasive species.

“I hope people say ‘wow!’ when they see what’s underwater,” says Ken, whose day job at Intel is currently director of package design in our Technology and Manufacturing Group.

The coral reef image, as well as videos and a documentary should be done later this year and will be on public display.

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