Karl Freund

Cerebras Unveils AI Supercomputer-On-A-Chip

Today unicorn startup Cerebras disclosed a few details about the wafer-scale AI chip it has been keeping under wraps for some three years. While many unanswered questions remain, the new approach could mark a significant milestone in the semiconductor industry, where chips have historically been constrained by the size of a single chip’s mask. Basically, …

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Xilinx Reveals More Versal Details

Xilinx held an “Innovation Day” event this week to share more details about the technologies the company hopes will forge a larger footprint in the data center. After listening to eight presentations and having intriguing discussions with the company’s leading technologists, some of which I actually understood, I think I have a better appreciation of both …

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World-Record AI Chip Announced By Habana Labs

Out of the tsunami of AI chip startups that hit the scene in the last few years, Israeli startup Habana Labs stands out from the crowd. The company surprised and impressed many with the announcement last fall of a chip designed to process a trained neural network (a task called “inference”) with record performance at …

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NovuMind: An Early AI Chip Startup

Last fall, a bit of nerdy controversy arose around AI chip startup NovuMind when the company announced its first low-power chip for processing neural networks. The company claimed that its patented design could natively process 3-D tensor data far more efficiently than other designs that require pre-processing the 3D tensors into 2D matrices. NovuMind portrayed …

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AMD And Cray Win Frontier Supercomputer DOE Deal

When I was a VP at AMD in 2016, I worked with a talented team on a new supercomputing platform that married AMD EPYC with Radeon Instinct GPUs, interconnected over the AMD Infinity Fabric. While that product was shelved, a successor of that idea will power what will likely be the fastest supercomputer in the world, called …

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Google Cloud Doubles Down On NVIDIA GPUs For Inference

Ever since Google announced its own chip to accelerate Deep Learning training and inference, known as the TensorFlow Processing Unit (TPU), many industry observers have wondered whether such custom chips could significantly impact NVIDIA . Certainly, if Google should decide to minimize support for NVIDIA GPUs in its cloud, it would signal that it has developed a competitive accelerator. I …

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NVIDIA GTC 2019: Datacenter Ecosystem, But No New Chips

Article by Karl Freund. Last week at GTC 2019, Jensen Huang, the high energy and immensely entertaining CEO and founder of NVIDIA , took the stage to give his keynote to the event’s 6,000+ attendees. However, this was anything but his usual keynote. We have all been spoiled for years by NVIDIA’s dependable yearly flood of new …

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Qualcomm Dives Into The Deep End Of The Data Center

Article by Karl Freund. Qualcomm  held an AI Day event this week in San Francisco to tout the company’s broad and deep Artificial Intelligence capabilities, across mobile, automobiles, IoT, cloud computing, and more. I will focus here on the company’s first foray into the data center for AI, while my colleague, Anshel Sag, will cover mobile …

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Intel And Cray Reaffirm First USA Exascale Supercomputer

Intel  and Cray Computer recently announced they will build the Aurora exascale supercomputer at the DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory in 2021, with Intel as the prime contributor and Cray Computer as a subcontractor. Exascale means the system can sustain one quintillion floating-point operations per second, a milestone the Chinese government hopes to reach in 2020. The …

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Why NVIDIA Is The Better Buyer Of Mellanox

Since Mellanox announced last year that it was for sale, there have been rumors of many potential buyers— Microsoft, Intel, Xilinx, AMD , and even IBM. Interestingly, the final winner, NVIDIA, was rarely mentioned, even though the companies have a long-standing partnership and common interests in high-performance computing. Let’s take a quick look at the three big reasons why this deal makes …

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A Cambrian Explosion In Deep Learning, Part 3: NVIDIA

Now that I’ve scared everyone who holds NVIDIA NVDA -0.7% stock, and/or given hope to those who spend a lot of money for NVIDIA GPUs, let’s take a realistic view of how NVIDIA might maintain its leadership in a far more crowded marketplace. We will need to look at the training and inference markets separately. A history lesson from …

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A Cambrian Explosion In Deep Learning, Part 2: The Startups

This is the second of three blogs on the state of the AI chip market and what’s to come in 2019. The year will be a festival of new chips and benchmark battles, led by the large companies I mentioned in the first blog ( Intel INTC +0.04%, Google GOOGL +0.15%, AMD , Xilinx XLNX +0.35%, Apple AAPL -0.47%, Qualcomm QCOM +1.55%), and joined by dozens of Silicon Valley startups and Chinese …

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2019: A Cambrian Explosion In Deep Learning, Part 1

I started out writing a single blog on the coming year’s expected AI chips, and how NVIDIA  might respond to the challenges, but I quickly realized it was going to be much longer than expected. Since there is so much ground to cover, I’ve decided to structure this as three hopefully more consumable articles. I’ve included links …

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NVIDIA Wins First AI Benchmarks

While the AI market has attracted a large number of would-be NVIDIA competitors for acceleration chips, including Intel, AMD , and dozens of well-funded startups, up until recently, there was not a set of benchmarks to enable apple-to-apple comparisons. The industry was simply too immature and fast-moving to take the time to develop one. That …

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Amazon AWS Leaps Forward In Cloudy AI At re:Invent

Amazon Web Services  hosted its annual conference last week. Over 50,000 attendees converged on Las Vegas to partake in the massive 4-day agenda of all things cloudy. In the realm of Artificial Intelligence (AI), AWS announced over a dozen completely new services for building and running smart applications, adding significantly to what was already a …

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Xilinx FPGAs: The Chip Behind Alibaba’s Singles Day

Most Americans consider Black Friday to be the biggest shopping extravaganza of the year. No doubt it is huge, with an estimated $5B in all U.S. retail sales (online and in-store) on Black Friday 2017. Imagine, though, a single website capable of ringing up over $30B (yes, with a B) in a single day. That’s …

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Is Microsoft Adding Xilinx To Its Datacenters?

At this point, Microsoft is probably the industry’s largest buyer of Intel FPGAs for datacenter acceleration. It has published numerous blogs and papers about its extensive use cases for the adaptable hardware, from security to search to AI (which I have opined on in numerous Forbes blogs). On Wednesday, October 31, Bloomberg’s Ian King published …

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