When the entire Silicon Valley aims to build AI chips
You have caught up on the current affairs of the world. News filled with politics, war, and crime is all that you read. Along with this, you feel that it is important to stay updated in terms of technology as it has become an integral part of our lives. In order to make sure that you can contribute to such tech savvy conversations in a social gathering, it’s time to read something about technology. Instead of opening the crisp Sunday paper, you unlock your tab to scroll through the news app. This in itself is a practical example of how important technology has become in our lives. You are going through various topics to read but a term keeps popping up way often than normal. The term is Artificial Intelligence. The concept of artificial intelligence is so popular that it
is thrown around in almost every conversation related to science and technology. The term rings a bell as this is what Apple and Google were talking about while elaborating upon their new devices.
If we talk about artificial intelligence, it is basically a technological concept which has now been developed on an extensive note. In the form of software, this technology is installed in various kinds of devices. To make artificial intelligence function smoothly in a device, an AI chip is mandatory. An AI chip is an instrument which carries all the necessary data for the functioning of the AI software. Without it, it is impossible to install this software in any device. This can give us an idea about the importance of an AI chip. As the demand for artificial intelligence seems never-ending in this age, the production of AI chips is also equally important. A number of tech giants have understood this and are dedicatedly working on the same. As everyone wants to try a hand at it, it is inevitable that competition is also on the rise. In this race to produce the most efficient AI chips, tech companies big and small are already on the start line.
WHEN AI CHIPS INITIALLY CAME OUT
It is often believed that artificial intelligence is a novel concept of this decade. This is a case of misconception as the demand for AI increased in this decade but its inception took place around more than two decades ago. A researcher at Bell Labs, Yann Lecun built an AI chip in the year of 1992. At that time, the importance of this innovation was not understood. One of the major reasons behind this is the lack of knowledge about the same. Being an iconic R&D lab situated right outside New York City, Lecun had a team of efficient scientists to support him in this vision. This AI chip was designed in order to run deep neural networks. These networks are complex mathematical systems. The AI helps these systems learn tasks independently with the help of data analysis. This neural network worked well in certain cases but had its limitations. Despite this, the innovation sowed the seed of artificial intelligence which turned out to be useful after 25 years. base, various tech companies are developing this AI chip even further. This development is done taking into consideration the demands of the present day and how artificial intelligence can enhance the experience their device would offer. As he is said to be the father of AI chips, Lecun currently heads the artificial intelligence lab at Facebook. Lecun confidently believes that such neural chips are the need of the hour and need to be worked upon on an immediate basis.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE DISCOVERED
One may have noticed that in the past few years, artificial intelligence has become a growing trend in the technological sector. Keeping this in mind, tech giants are willingly investing in this field to make sure they lead the market. As artificial intelligence is software, people assume that it will gradually shut down any scope of hardware. What we fail to notice is no software can exist without the base of hardware in order to carry that information. In this scenario, an AI chip is the necessary hardware. This is why all companies of this field are hell bent on creating a niche as the best AI chip manufacturer in the business. Right from budding startups to well established giants, each and every organization is working upon it. Companies like Google and Microsoft who have earned themselves a name in the tech business as pioneers of innovation with expertise are also forced to run in this race to retain their position. This is the time when the need to build an AI chip for almost every function in a device is high. Not only this, but an AI chip has the ability to carry out certain functions which would be possible by a huge manual workforce. For example, Google recently produced the TPU chip. It said that this chip could do the job which would usually take 15 extra data centers. This means that transfer of data from the source to the devices can be much smoother as it will cut down on the long route of first sending the data to the data centers and then transferring it to the respective devices. The delay of shuttling data can be eliminated thanks to these AI chips. Due to this, companies are jumping at the opportunity of creating AI chips because it not only cuts down on the overhead cost but also provides a more efficient solution to tech services.
COMPANIES VENTURING INTO SPECIALIZED AI CHIPS
Intel, the name which is considered the father of computer software, acquired a startup called Nirvana. This acquisition is in order to carry out the production of a chip which will only focus on machine learning. Similarly, IBM is working on hardware architecture which resembles the theory of neural network. Along the same lines, Qualcomm is busy developing chips based on Lecun’s exact principles of neural work. Facebook is doing the same with the help of Lecun himself. The foundation that was built 25 years ago is now undergoing development and that too at a rapid pace. Despite all these attempts, there is one organization that has the upper hand when it comes to production of AI chips. nvidia has earned itself a reputation in the Silicon Valley as the leader of this field. Its expertise in graphic processors (GPU) can easily crunch massive amount of data without any flaws. This GPU chip is mainly in charge of accelerating the training stage. Once the device is well acquainted with the users’ needs and demands, all it has to do so follow instructions. GPUS are considered to be the best option for this task. GPUS do the job which usually needs an entire ecosystem for proper functioning. Following the trend, Apple Inc. may also soon produce AI chips on an independent note. It won’t be wrong to say that almost all tech devices use artificial intelligence. This functioning also takes place through AI chips. But till a few years back, not all these companies produced the hardware required for this technology. They usually handed over the work to another organization and later installed it in their devices. But looking at the need of the hour, companies have decided to take the development of AI chips in their own hands. This has resulted in a number of acquisitions in the Silicon Valley and will also prevent loopholes in technology that were earlier caused by data centers.