Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Questions America Wants Answered: "Will Intel's Deep Neural Processor Be Too Late?" (INTC; NVDA)

From EE Times:
Intel disclosed plans to release late next year its first neural network processor intended for commercial use, but some analysts wonder if it will be too late for Intel to make up ground lost in AI to Nvidia's Volta GPU architecture.

The Intel chip, codenamed Spring Crest, will offer three to four times the training performance of Intel's first-generation neural network processor, Lake Crest.

Spring Crest — or the Intel Nervana NNP-L1000 as it is formally known — was the most significant of a number of innovations described by Naveen Rao, vice president and general manager of Intel's AI Products Group, Tuesday (May 23) at Intel's first-ever AI developer event here.

Kevin Krewell, a principal analyst at Tirias Research, said that even with three to four times the performance of Lake Crest, Spring Crest would still have only a slight performance advantage over Nvidia's V100 data center GPUs, which are already available.

"It may take until 2020 or 2021 for Intel to potentially deliver a superior neural net processor," Krewell said.

"Intel is late to the party and shooting at a moving target," said Jim McGregor, founder and principal analyst at Tirias. "You can bet that the Nvidia solution will be well beyond that point by that time. It kinda sounds like Intel and GPUs all over again."

Rao and other Intel executives at the AI event sought to portray Nvidia as a one-trick pony, repeatedly extolling the virtues of Intel's portfolio of chips for AI — including neural net processors, Xeon processors and Stratix FPGAs — as a comprehensive suite of solutions for the rapidly evolving AI landscape....MORE