Monday, November 21, 2016

Artificial Intelligence: What Could Derail NVIDIA? A Lab in Shenzhen; A Basement in Moscow; An Office in Bristol (NVDA)

From HPCwire:
November 1, 2016
Graphcore emerged from stealth mode today with news of a $30 million Series A round to help finance ongoing development of its machine learning (ML) and deep learning acceleration solutions, including a PCIe card that plugs directly into a server’s bus.

The company says the combination of its development framework, called Poplar, and its PCIe-based Intelligent Processing Unit (IPU) can speed up ML and deep learning workloads by 10x to 100x.
The IPU card plugs into the PCI buses of standard X86 servers to provide a processing boost. Armed with multiple IPU cards, a company could enjoy the benefits of “massively parallel, low-precision floating-point compute” at “much higher compute densities” than other solutions.

Graphcore is positioning its IPU cards to take on the workloads that some are looking to run on more exotic hardware, such as graphics processing units (GPUs) or field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). GPUs and FPGAs represent “stopgap measures” to solving the compute challenges posed by emerging machine intelligence applications, says Graphcore CEO Nigel Toon.

“Our IPU system provides a less restrictive, more efficient, and more powerful solution, making it easier and faster to produce applications, devices and machines that are much more intelligent and which can become more and more useful over time,” Toon says in a press release.

The main problem with GPUs is that they aren’t data-driven. “GPUs have been built to run programs that completely describe the algorithm,” Toon told CNBC. “Machine learning is different. You are trying to teach the system using data and that requires a different style of compute.”

The company has plans to sell two pieces of hardware, including the PCIe-based IPU-Accelerator, as well as an IPU-Alliance that will focus on increasing the performance of the training and inference components of machine intelligence workloads. The company says it will start shipping the appliance next year....MORE
I'm not saying Graphcore is the disruptor, just that it will be something like this. We'll be back with more next week but in the meantime the immediate threat is a bunch of fund managers looking for a bonus wanting to lock in the 280%+ that the stock has made this year and the public exhibiting the round number effect we mentioned back in 2007 as First Solar was on its way from $20 to $317:
...So if you bought when we posted Lazard's upgrade (the stock was $78 and change on its way to $74 before turning) you are on your own.

Gomez Addams ("It's not for nothing that they called me 'the Plunger,'" he boasts, although it was not from Wall Street that he received this nickname, but from the Plumbers Union) was wrong when he'd tell his broker "sell when it gets to $100". FSLR closed yesterday at $99.07 , it's $95 today, the price the insiders and sold at in the recent offering...
NVDA $93.16 down 20 cents.