Hundreds of Intel Israel employees at both the development center in Haifa and the production center in Kiryat Gat were involved in bringing the company's first AI chip to market. Unveiled at the Hot Chips symposium in Silicon Valley yesterday, the new chip is called Intel Nervana NNP-1 or Springhill and is designed for inference tasks in large data centers. Facebook is already using the chip.
Intel Israel AI development team head Oren Gershon told "Globes" about Intel's collaboration with Facebook, which was announced in January at the CES trade show in Las Vegas. "Intel is working with Facebook on the definitions of the product and is making sure that the product that we are planning will be suitable for the needs of large data centers like Facebook.
However, Gershon stresses that Intel is not working exclusively with Facebook. "It does not of course harm our ability to work with a large range of other customers."
Gershon explains that the collaboration with Facebook stems from, "the size of neural networks and the major precision, which is required by operating systems that set a very high threshold that is not expressed in recognized comparative measurements. The real uses in data centers are significantly more complicated.
As with other AI chips, the new chip will be used for processing tasks such as computer vision, natural language processing including translation, real time speech processing, and recommendation systems.
Asked if he saw the AI chip being used in the future for processing in real time more sensitive tasks, requiring higher standards of speed and precision, Gershon said, "I don't see why not, the component has major potential but our emphasis at the moment is the world of data centers.
Gerson gave a similar answer to the possibility of launching an AI chip designed for end edge devices. He said, "Theoretically such a thing is possible but it is still too early because at the moment we are looking at data center customers."
Other companies are already working in the AI chip space including Nvidia, which is considered the leader in developing chips for both edge devices and data centers, and Google which has developed an AI chip called TPU, which offers access over the cloud.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 21, 2019
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