Intel shares artificial intelligence strategy

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Intel announced a slew of products, technologies and investment in an effort to fix its position in the field of artificial intelligence.

In the new move, Intel has assembled a set of technology options to drive AI capabilities in everything from smart factories and drones to sports, fraud detection and autonomous cars.

Intel is increasing its focus on AI as it believes it can power the AI products released recently by companies like Facebook and Google.

In a blog Intel CEO Brian Krzanich had said, “Intel is uniquely capable of enabling and accelerating the promise of AI. Intel is committed to AI and is making major investments in technology and developer resources to advance AI for business and society.”

Today, the chip-maker unveiled data center compute portfolio for AI: the new Intel Nervana platform. For Intel, the Nervana portfolio is the foundation for highly optimized AI solutions.

Currently, Intel powers 97 percent of data center servers running AI workloads and offers portfolio of solutions. This includes Intel Xeon processors and Intel Xeon Phi processors.

The company have huge expectations about Nervana platform in the area of AI.  “We expect the Intel Nervana platform to produce breakthrough performance and dramatic reductions in the time to train complex neural networks,” said Diane Bryant, executive vice president and general manager of the Data Center Group at Intel.

“Before the end of the decade, Intel will deliver a 100-fold increase in performance that will turbocharge the pace of innovation in the emerging deep learning space.”

Going forward, Intel plans to integrate Nervana technology to its product roadmap. In connection with that, Intel will test first silicon (code-named “Lake Crest”) in the first half of 2017 and will make it available to key customers later in the year.

In addition, Intel announced a new product (code-named “Knights Crest”) on the roadmap that integrates its Xeon processors with the technology from Nervana.

Lake Crest is optimized specifically for neural networks to deliver the highest and offers unprecedented compute density with a high-bandwidth interconnect.

Bryant also announced that Intel expects the next generation of Intel Xeon Phi processors (code-named “Knights Mill”) will deliver up to 4x better performance than the previous generation for deep learning and will be available in 2017.

Intel also announced that it is shipping a preliminary version of the next generation of Xeon processors (code-named “Skylake”) to select cloud service providers.

With AVX-512, an integrated acceleration advancement, these Xeon processors will significantly boost the performance of inference for machine learning workloads.

Additional capabilities and configurations will be available when the platform family launches in mid-2017 to meet the full breadth of customer segments and requirements.

Cloud Alliance with Google

As part of boosting AI innovations, Intel highlighted its other AI assets including its Saffron Technology, which is a business insight solution.

The Saffron Technology platform leverages memory-based reasoning techniques and transparent analysis of heterogeneous data.

According to the company, this technology is particularly suited to small devices, making intelligent local analytics possible across IoT and helping advance state-of the-art collaborative AI.

To simplify deployment everywhere, Intel also delivers common, intelligent APIs that extend across Intel’s distributed portfolio of processors from edge to cloud, as well as embedded technologies such as Intel RealSense cameras and Movidius vision processing units (VPUs).

Intel and Google announced a strategic alliance to help enterprise IT deliver an open, flexible and secure multi-cloud infrastructure for their businesses.

The collaboration includes technology integrations focused on Kubernetes (containers), machine learning, security and IoT.

To further AI research and strategy, the chip-maker announced the formation of the Nervana AI board, which will feature leading industry and academic thought leaders.

It also announced four founding members: Yoshua Bengio (University of Montreal), Bruno Olshausen (UC Berkeley), Jan Rabaey (UC Berkeley) and Ron Dror (Stanford University).

Additionally, Intel has introduced the Intel Nervana AI Academy for broad developer access to training and tools. Intel also introduced the Intel Nervana Graph Compiler to accelerate deep learning frameworks on Intel silicon.

In conjunction with the AI Academy, the company announced a partnership with global leading education provider Coursera to provide a series of AI online courses to the academic community.

Further, it launched a Kaggle Competition (coming in January) jointly with Mobile ODT,  where the academic community can put their AI skills to the test to solve real-world socioeconomic problems.

“Intel can offer crucial technologies to drive the AI revolution, but ultimately we must work together as an industry – and as a society – to achieve the ultimate potential of AI,” said Doug Fisher, senior vice president and general manager of the Software and Services Group at Intel.

AI is transforming the way businesses operate and how people engage with the world. Forecasts from Markets and Markets show that the artificial intelligence market is estimated to reach $5.05 Billion by 2020.

According to the research firm, the increasing use of machine learning technology in the advertising & media and finance sectors, and the growing demand for AI across diversified application areas are driving the growth of the artificial intelligence market.

Intel’s AI related announcements came at a time when the company faces competition from its rival chip maker Nvidia, who focuses on graphics processing unit (GPU).

GPU is commonly used in video games. Apart from that, it is being leveraged to derive insights from huge heap of data.

In monetary terms, Intel has $166 billion market capital compared just $48 billion of Nvidia. Currently, the latter is not causing any threat to the former. But, the way Nvidia is performing presently is a warning for Intel.

In third quarter ended October 30, NVIDIA reported record revenue of  $2.00 billion, up 54 percent from $1.30 billion a year earlier, mainly driven by GPU sales.

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