How does it feel to work on the technology that is in the very heart of Intel’s client solutions? Simics Virtual Development team and its manager, Oleg Oleinik, develop simulators of components that are the base of all system software inside Intel-manufactured chips. We had a chance to talk with Oleg about his team’s contribution to the products, their work style principles, and how Intel solutions differ from other products on the market.
What does your team do?
We develop functional simulators of future Intel chips using Simics technology as the basis. At Intel, they are known as virtual platforms. There’s a large international team that’s working on Simics virtual platforms, and we are a part of it. More specifically, our team is responsible for developing simulators of Intel chips’ key components that then make their way onto PCs, notebooks, tablets, and other mobile devices. We develop simulators of components that are at the very heart of client chips: Intel CPUs, memory management and power management subsystems, and networking components.
Could you please tell us a bit more about Simics technology and its capabilities?
Simics virtual platforms are unique and complex. At its core is the Simics technology that makes it possible to build functional simulators of digital devices. This technology was pioneered by Intel’s Swedish team. Our team uses the Simics toolkit to develop virtual platforms. Where are such simulators needed? They are used to develop and debug system software, firmware, operating systems, drivers, etc., and to develop future hardware logic several years before the hardware goes to market.
How does your team contribute to the product?
We started working with Simics back in 2010. And in many ways due to the Moscow-based team’s efforts, Intel decided to change its chip development process. Currently, all system software inside an Intel-manufactured chip is developed using Simics virtual platforms, helping to reduce the product’s time to market by months.
What are your team’s goals and objectives?
Virtual platforms are used by hundreds of Intel teams worldwide to develop system software. The speed of an entire chip development program depends on how quickly and how well we do our part of the complete chip simulator, because, by and large, we are the ones who set this program into motion and establish its pace. This is an important consideration because chip development is a race against time and our goal is to help Intel win this race.
What are the principles that underlie the way your team members interact with each other?
Our work ethic rests on five basic principles: a sense of one’s personal satisfaction with the process, synergy within the team, pride in the product, professional recognition, and transparency of our decision-making. We discuss many aspects of our work in a team. Since we hire the most technically skilled and capable experts to our Simics team, and as they are all different individuals with diverse behavioral skills, it’s my task to build a cohesive team to help create the right synergy within it. As a manager, I find it important to organize the workflow in such a way that all our employees can enjoy what they do while maintaining a proper work-life balance and successfully combining career advancement with creativity. In addition, at Intel, employees get the professional recognition they deserve. People need to know that their results are duly appreciated.
How would you characterize the work process at Intel? What makes Intel different from other companies in this regard?
Intel is essentially a great number of culturally diverse teams spread around the globe. Intel provides training to its employees on how to communicate with each other, how to resolve disputes, how to give feedback, and how to be sensitive to other people’s cultures. These trainings are part of the onboarding process. Intel’s spirit is results oriented, it’s Intel’s competitive advantage. The company is interested in growing skilled developers in Russia, with their influence not limited just to our company but extending to the entire IT industry. At Intel in Russia, the number of such industry recognized specialists has been growing exponentially: over the past five years the number of engineers promoted to Principal Engineer or above has grown several times.