Intel has announced new processor instructions for the Haswell chip architecture that would be useful for image and video processing. According to an Intel Blog, the target applications include face detection, hash generation, and database manipulation. For example, the new floating-point-multiply-accumulate instructions "operate on scalar, 128-bit packed single and double precision data types, and 256-bit packed single and double-precision data types."
Intel's processor improvements come in a 2-year "tick-tock" succession of architecture improvements (tick) and process shrinks (tock). The current generation processor is the Sandy Bridge, which is followed by Ivy Bridge. Haswell is the newest architecture definition after Ivy Bridge.