Intel said it will begin shipments of its Nervana Neural Network Processor (NNP) before the end of the year, putting the company on a path to boost artificial intelligence chip performance by a factor of more than 100.
Company CEO Brian Krzanich in October announced the imminent first silicon and shipment of Nervana and revealed the company is working with Facebook to develop artificial intelligence chips. Nervana boasts a set of enhancements specifically designed to boost AI processing, including Software-based memory management, high-speed interconnect technologies and a new numeric format.
Krzanich said the Nervana is the first of a line of Intel NNP chips. Succeeding generations of these artificial intelligence chips in the pipeline will allow the company to exceed its goal of increasing AI performance by a hundredfold in three years, he added.
“The Intel Nervana NNP promises to revolutionize AI computing across myriad industries,” Krzanich commented in a company statement. “Using Intel Nervana technology, companies will be able to develop entirely new classes of AI applications that maximize the amount of data processed and enable customers to find greater insights—transforming their businesses.”
In healthcare, Nervana will assist in an AI system that enables faster diagnosis of conditions including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and other brain disorders. On the automotive front, the artificial intelligence chip will accelerate deep learning tasks needed to put self-driving cars on the road. Nervana also can help with weather prediction, efficiently processing data inputs that could help anticipate the path of a hurricane.
Intel didn’t provide details on its work with Facebook. However, the company noted the Nervana can enhance social media systems, saying, “Providers will be able to deliver a more personalized experience to their customers and offer more targeted reach to their advertisers.”
Facebook has been employing a wide range of AI techniques in its service, including sentiment analysis and face emotion. The social-media giant likely will work with Intel to develop future versions of Nervana specifically designed to boost AI processing.
Intel said there is huge growth potential for artificial intelligence chips. Krzanich cited an International Data Corp. forecast predicting global AI system revenue will expand to more than $46 billion in 2020, up from $12.5 billion in 2017.
Nervana employs a software-based memory system that attains higher levels of utilization required to accelerate training in deep-learning models. The chip also enables a high level of bi-directional data transfer to allow neural processing across multiple chips.
Furthermore, Nervana includes a technology called Flexpoint that promotes parallelism while decreasing power consumption.
Stephan Cunningham is vice president, product management at Veritone. Working in concert with core internal teams including industry-specific general managers and engineering as well as directly with clients and prospects, he leads the disciplines and business processes which govern the Veritone Platform.