Intel and Baidu team on AI chip
Image: Intel

Baidu and Intel announced a new collaboration on the first day of the Baidu Create artificial intelligence (AI) conference. The two firms will work together to refine the functionality of Intel’s Nervana Neural Network Processor for training (NNP-T) microchips.

Specifically, the two tech giants will endeavor to optimize the NNP-T for use in Baidu’s PaddlePaddle deep learning framework. Once implemented, the NNP-T chip should accelerate the learning process of Baidu’s extensive AI systems.

Intel’s Nervana Neural Network Processors

In 2016, Intel purchased a deep learning startup called Nervana for $350 million. The chipmaker bought the firm to further its mission to exceed 100 times greater AI perforce by 2020.

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Using its acquisition technology, the Santa Clara, California-based company developed a line of neural network processors that debuted in 2017. The new chips eschew standard cache hierarchy and use a proprietary numeric format called Flexpoint that produces high throughputs.

Furthermore, by shrinking their circuit size, Intel supercharged the parallelism of its NNP chips while decreasing power consumption. In addition to the NNP-T processors, the firm also plans to release an NNP-I chip later this year. The company designed the new Inference processor to accelerate the function of deep learning programs.

Intel intends for its next-generation processors to help the company dominate the rapidly growing deep learning segment.

Indeed, analysts predict the deep learning hardware market will increase in value from $20 billion in 2019 to $380 billion by 2025. If Intel’s partnership with Baidu proves fruitful, the corporation can position itself as a leader within the nascent field.

5G Portfolio Auction

One sector Intel will most definitely not be interested in exploring is the fifth generation of mobile internet chipsets. The firm has revealed it will auction off its 3G, 4G, and 5G intellectual property patents this August.

Intel’s auction will include 6,000 cellular standards and 1,700 wireless implementation assets. The corporation reportedly intends to sell its smartphone and modem business separately but will accept offers for both lots.

Back in April, the chipmaker announced it was exiting the 5G market after Apple and Qualcomm inked a new supply deal. Intel built 4G chipsets for the iPhone maker in recent years, but the device manufacturer has agreed to source its next-generation smartphone modems from Qualcomm. Without Apple as a client, the semiconductor manufacturer decided developing new mobility technologies wouldn’t be profitable.

In June, reports suggested that Apple intended to purchase Intel’s 5G assets, but it seems that the deal never materialized.

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