Intel has signed up as a research partner on a project centered around , or FHE for short. The Data Protection in Virtual Environments (DPRIVE) program is looking into ways of advancing the FHE field to improve privacy.
In a nutshell, FHE enables encrypted data without first having to decrypt it. That's a major step forward for security, but right now, FHE isn't the most practical approach in most cases. According to DARPA, a calculation that takes a regular laptop a fraction of a second to carry out would currently take weeks to complete on a conventional server that's running FHE. Figuring out how to mitigate that "performance tax" is critical if FHE is ever to become widely adopted.
As part of a multi-year project, Intel will develop an Application Specific Integrated Circuit accelerator with the aim of speeding up FHE compute times. The company is also working with Microsoft to test the tech on Microsoft Azure and Microsoft JEDI.