Intel Bets Big on Deep Learning: Lays Out Artificial Intelligence Roadmap



/ 7 months ago

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A few short months ago, Intel acquired Nervana Systems for 400 million dollars with the intention of using the technology they developed in order to be competitive in the deep learning market currently dominated by GPU-based solutions from NVIDIA. Artificial Intelligence is a big market for Intel and the company sees it as a pivotal ground that they must put a stake in or risk falling behind like they did on the mobile front.

With Nervana’s technology, Intel is expecting to produce “a breakthrough 100-fold increase in performance in the next three years to train complex neural networks”, says Intel CEO Bryan Krzanich in a recent editorial. Nervana’s technology will be a PCIe add-in card expected to hit be out sometime around the first half of 2017, codenamed Lake Crest and incorporates HBM technology that is directly targeting current GPU solutions. Intel believes that GPGPU architecture is not uniquely advantageous for AI and that their approach can support much larger models and is much more highly scalable.

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Intel is also in the process of acquiring Movidius, a visual sensing company, whose technologies should fit perfectly well with Intel’s deep learning efforts. Krzanich compares the addition of Movidius’ Myriad 2 vision technology as a sort of “visual cortex” for their existing RealSense 3D camera “eyes” and Intel CPU “brain”.

Together with Saffron’s cognitive computing technology which Intel acquired last year, the company expects to be a leader in deep learning development. Saffron Technology is a North Carolina company founded in 1990 and whose natural Intelligence platform is utilized by thousands of companies around the world including the US Defense Department.

Intel’s ultimate goal according to Mr. Krzanich, is for artificial intelligence to be accessible as well as pervasive. These acquisitions are the company’s way of showing their investment and commitment for widespread artificial intelligence adoption.


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