Trends in Technology

Intel: Computer Chips Will Accelerate AI Revolution

November 8, 2017 by Bobby J Davidson
Read similar articles in: Cool Technology

AI RevolutionIntel—The American multinational tech company, has been manufacturing computer chips since 1971. The latest invention of the company are self-learning chips—chips Intel hopes will accelerate the AI revolution. What is the AI revolution and how does Intel plan to accelerate it? Read on to find out!

Believe the popular media about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and you’d be scared to death. According to the popular media and sci-fi films, AI bots are coming to cause havoc and threaten life as we know it. While this may sound a bit farfetched now, it can be a reality at some point in the future—twenty, fifty, hundred or two hundred years from now. But, contrary to what the doomsday advocates say, the AI revolution isn’t all about potential destruction, it is also about improving human life and making things more convenient and accessible. A company hoping to steer the world into that direction is Intel.

The Challenge for Intel and Its AI Chip

Over the years, Intel has lost its reputation as a computer technology leader. However, the company is hoping the self-learning chips—its latest invention, will help bring back the glory days. Typically, tech giants such as Google, Baidu, Facebook and Microsoft use Graphics Process units (GPUs) to indoctrinate their deep neural nets. But, now they’re making to the shift to more specialized chips that they hope will speed up not just the indoctrination of these systems, but also their execution.

Not wanting to be left behind, Intel, the largest manufacturer of computer chips in the world, unveiled its very own AI process in November last year. Named Nervana, the new AI chip was expected to go on sale at the end of the current year. However, that looks unlikely. Now, there are two challenges for Intel. The first challenge is upsetting the market share of nVidia, the current leader in the AI chips market. The second and arguably the tougher challenge is accelerating the AI revolution. How does Intel plan to overcome these challenges? Let’s find out.

Will Intel Overcome the Underlying Challenges and Help Accelerate the AI Revolution

Today, there is an increased demand for processing that outpaces not only classic CPU architectures, but also GPUs. Reason for this is growing need for gathering, evaluating and making decisions from unstructured and highly dynamic natural data. To help meet this growing need and keep pace with the evolving technology, Intel has been working for more than half a decade on specialized architectures that accelerate the existing computing platforms. Additionally, the company has done considerable R & D in neuromorphic computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

As part of its efforts to accelerate the AI revolution, Intel recently developed Loihi, a self-learning neuromorphic chip. According to the company, the self-learning chip functions like a human brain in the sense that it can learn from the environment and operate based on that. An AI chip that uses data to learn, Loihi is energy-efficient and it gets smarter over time. The best thing? You don’t need to train it the traditional way.

As AI is still in its infancy, processors such as Loihi will only help accelerate its revolution. Intel takes inspiration from its existing understanding of the brain’s architecture and related computations for neuromorphic computing.

How Intel’s Self-Learning Chip Compares with the Machine Learning Models

By using large-scale training data files to identify events and objects, machine learnings models have made great advancements in recent times. An example of these models is deep learning. However, there is a problem with these models: they do not generalize well unless their training sets specifically rationalize a particular circumstance, element or event.

On the other hand, the benefits offered by self-learning chips—or at least that is what Intel says, are infinite. According to Intel, its neuromorphic based self-learning chips can help you to determine your ‘normal’ heartbeat before going to bed, following a meal, or after jogging. Not only that, it can continue to monitor the incoming heart data to identify and flag patterns that aren’t in sync with the ‘normal’ heartbeat behavior. Moreover, the system can be personalized to fit the needs of the user.

Intel believes that the aforementioned-logic is applicable to many other use cases including cybersecurity. According to the company, its self-leaning chips can prevent a cyberattack by recognizing and reporting the abnormalities in data streams and supporting the early identification of a hack or breach.

The Key Features of Intel’s AI Chip that Can Help Accelerate the AI Revolution

Following are the key features of Loihi—Intel’s new AI chip, that the company hopes will help accelerate the AI revolution:

  • It can function like a human brain
  • It makes machine learning faster and more efficient
  • It combines training and reasoning on a single chip
  • It ensures real-time adaptability of machines
  • It uses fewer resources than deep learning neural networks
  • It has the potential to improve industrial and automotive applications
  • Compared to traditional computing systems, it is a thousand times more energy-efficient
  • It has more than a hundred million synapses and over 120,000 neurons
  • Each neuron can communicate with thousands of other neurons

The aforementioned-list of features is by means exhaustive. Loihi—the new AI chip by intel, has many more features that can help accelerate the AI revolution.

The Way Forward

Each day, AI tasks are becoming more assorted and complicated and this will only increase the challenge for the existing computing architectures. Intel believes that neuromorphic computing is the best way forward. According to the company, as it takes inspiration from the functioning of the human brain, this form of computing is the perfect way to accelerate the AI revolution and make machines more human-like.

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