Intel and Facebook Collaborate in AI Venture

Intel and Facebook Collaborate in AI Venture
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Although the companies have no formal partnership in place, they have agreed to work in close collaboration in an attempt to bring more advanced AI applications to the market. Intel has announced its new chip is finally ready for the market and is a long awaited product. However, according to an announcement by Intel CEO, Brian Krzanich, it might not have been possible without the assistance of Facebook. “We are thrilled to have Facebook in close collaboration sharing its technical insights as we bring this new generation of AI hardware to market,” said Krzanich.

The new chip is called the Intel Nervana Neural Network Processor and is a product of Nervana Systems, the company’s chip startup. Originally the acquisition was set up as a way of helping Intel develop its own semiconductor technology that could be used for tasks such as deep learning. These kinds of tasks require a lot of computing power in order to create the software needed that can recognize patterns among large amounts of data and react accordingly.

Up until now, companies such as Walmart that wanted to power deep learning tasks have been utilizing graphical processing units (GPUs) from the likes of rival company Nvidia. However, that may be about to change with the introduction of Intel’s AI-optimized chip. Artificial intelligence is big right now and this chip is a big deal for Intel. “A company like Intel doesn’t announce a new class of products very often,” said Naveen Rao, a leader of Intel’s new chip project. “This is a really historical point in the history of computation.”

Former CEO of Nervana, Rao said that Intel will be looking to sell its new chip to customers via two different avenues. One will involve selling a data center appliance with the Nervana Neural Network Processors and Intel CPU’s already integrated. These systems will enable customers to run their own deep learning projects within their data centers. There will also be an option for customers to rent access to the chips. This will be done via Intel’s cloud data centers and is a similar method to how Nvidia currently sell access to its AI-based GPUs.

One thing that is for sure is that Intel will not sell the chip as a stand-alone product. Later on the company may choose to offer a more customizable option of the AI data center box, but for now it’s staying as a whole.

Original source Fortune

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