Intel’s 15 Billion Reasons Why an AI Chip Revolution Has Arrived
#MOBILEYE #AI ISN’T JUST changing internet services, cars, robotics, and healthcare. It’s changing the computer chip market too. This shift was underlined on Monday when Intel said it would pay $15.3 billion to acquire Mobileye, an Israeli company that makes chips and cameras for cars and trucks, including the self-driving variety. The purchase will be Intel’s second largest ever, following its $16.7 billion billion acquisition of chip-maker #Altera in 2015. The Altera buy was also driven, in part, by the recent rise of machine learning, where machine learn can discrete tasks on their own. These are enormous acquisitions in many respects. After acquiring Mobileye, Intel will move its autonomous driving team to the Mobileye’s headquarters, not vice versa. In other words, Intel is letting Mobileye take over a growing wing of its company. The world’s largest chip maker knows the market is changing rapidly, and it’s determined to change with it. As long as PCs and servers dominated the computing landscape, Intel reigned supreme. But PCs now share the stage with phones, tablets, drones, TVs, smart thermostats, and, yes, cars. For the most part, the smartphone and tablet revolution sidestepped Intel in favor of chips from ARM, and though these gadgets still connect to data centers in the cloud, where Intel chips are still dominant, this hegemony is now being threatened by the rise of chips suited to running neural networks, complex mathematical systems that can learn discrete tasks by analyzing vast amounts of data, including recognizing images and translating from one language to another. Typically, neural networks analyze data with help from graphics processing units, or GPUs, chip originally built to help power video games in the late 1990s, and most of these are supplied by Intel rival nVidia. But other companies are exploring more specialized chips for machine learning. Last year, Google unveiled its own AI-focused chip called the Tensor Processing Unit, or TPUs, and Microsoft revealed that it uses Altera’s customizable chips to power its own AI applications. That’s why Intel acquired Altera.