Intel Leaps Into AI With The Nervana Neural Network Processor
It’s undeniable that Intel is one of the leading chip manufacturers in the world and they lead the way when it comes to producing powerful, fast, processors. However, one area in which they lag behind on is artificial intelligence. Google recently earned headlines, and a movie, when its AlphaGo AI defied expectations by defeating the world champion in a series of five matches. Intel’s chips are fast, but we don’t expect them to match that feat anytime soon.
Of course, they could prove us wrong as the company has announced Nervana Neural Network Processor which will be Intel’s first line of chips dedicated to AI. The chips are expected to ship by the end of 2017 and will hopefully give the company’s AI arm a much-needed boost.
Of course, Intel isn’t starting entirely from scratch on this. It has purchased several smaller firms known for their work in the fields of machine learning and AI. Mobileye, for example, is known for its work on creating chips for self-driving cars.
The company most responsible for these chips, however, is Nervana Systems which Intel purchased in 2006. The Nervana Neural Network Processor chips have been in the works for more than three years and began as the Nervana Engine application-specific integrated circuit.
Another major player in the development of these chips was Facebook through the details of the social media giant’s involvement have not been disclosed. Obviously, though, Intel is hoping its hardware wil have applications for social media sites though it believes it can be applied to a wide-range of applications such as healthcare, self-driving cars, and weather forecasting.
Intel is currently positioning the chips as an alternative to NVIDIA’s Volta-based products which are used in Tesla. However, Intel has a long road ahead of it, if it hopes to compete with NVIDIA in this sphere as the company’s chips are seen as the best for self-learning algorithms.
Eric is an avid tech junkie, gamer, and comic fan. When he's not working on his PC, you'll find him at your local comic book shop.