Who knows what features the new Intel chips have that convinced FB it was time to look further afield.
This follows on reports Tesla was doing something similar with AMD.
From Fortune, Oct. 17:
Intel is ready to ship its long awaited computer chip used to power artificial intelligence projects by the end of the year.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich explained the chip-maker’s foray into the red-hot field of artificial intelligence Tuesday and said that Facebook (FB, +0.89%) has assisted the company in prelude to its new chip’s debut.
“We are thrilled to have Facebook in close collaboration sharing its technical insights as we bring this new generation of AI hardware to market,” Krzanich wrote. An Intel spokesperson wrote to Fortune in an email that while the two companies are collaborating, they do not have a formal partnership.
The genesis of the Intel Nervana Neural Network Processor comes from Intel’s acquisition of the chip startup Nervana Systems in 2016. That acquisition was intended to help Intel create its own semiconductor technology tailored for tasks like deep learning that require a lot of heavy computer processing to create software that can spot and react to patterns in enormous quantities of data.
In the absence of AI-optimized chips, companies like Walmart looking to power deep learning tasks in their internal data centers have been turning to rival chip makers like Nvidia (NVDA, +0.32%) that build graphical processing units (GPUs).NVIDIA is still the class of the field but going forward it is not going to be as easy as it has been.
With so much hype around artificial intelligence and its potential to become a big business, Intel’s new chip represents a key moment for the company that has missed out on previous technology trends like mobile computing.
“A company like Intel doesn’t announce a new class of products very often,” said Intel’s leader of the new chip project Naveen Rao. “This is really a historical point in the history of computation.”...MORE
There is just too much money involved.
Possibly also of interest:
Way back in 2014, before Intel bought 'em:
"Deep Learning is VC Worthy: Nervana Raises Second Round This Year, as Silicon Valley Bets Big on Deep Learning"
Competition For NVIDIA: The Nervana Systems Chip That Will Let Intel Advance Its Deep Learning (INTC; NVDA)
"Nvidia Welcomes Intel Into AI Era: Fancy a Benchmark Deathmatch?" (NVDA; INTC)
Artificial Intelligence: What Could Derail NVIDIA? A Lab in Shenzhen; A Basement in Moscow; An Office in Bristol (NVDA)
NVIDIA Partner Tesla Reportedly Developing Chip With AMD (TSLA; NVDA; AMD)
"The Natural Evolution of Artificial Intelligence"
Watch Out NVIDIA: "Google Details Tensor Chip Powers" (GOOG; NVDA)
And on 'ol creeypypants:
Facebook Is Creepy: The 'People You May Know' Feature (FB)