Intel Nervana Neural Network Processor for AI

Intel recently announced it’s advancement in the cognitive and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and neural network realm. The pioneer in the silicon chips reveals its plans to ship industry’s first silicon for Neural Network Processing (Nervana Neural Network Processor) before the end of this year.

While talking to the WSJDLive Global Technology, Brian Krzanich, the CEO of Intel said that, the new technology will help speed up the research and development in myriad of industries.

Some of these sectors expected to witness the boost are: Health care, Social Media, Automotive, weather etc.

He further added:

We have multiple generations of Intel Nervana NNP products in the pipeline that will deliver higher performance and enable new levels of scalability for AI models. This puts us on track to exceed the goal we set last year of achieving 100 times greater AI performance by 2020.

New Intel Nervana Neural Network Processors
Image Courtesy: Intel Newsroom

What is Nervana?

Nervana Systems is an Artificial Intelligence software company based in San Diego. It was acquired by Intel in August 2016.

The new processors (NNP), leverage the technology of Nervana Systems that it has acquired over the years working and developing deep learning and cloud based technology.

Read Intel Announces New Core I9 X-Series Processors

Facebook’s Collaboration

The CEO expressed his gratitude towards the social media giant for valuable sharing its technical insights.

Intel, no doubt outperforms Facebook in terms of technology by leaps and bounds. So the only valuable “insights” that Facebook may have provided is its user’s data. That’s a speculation though. Don’t quote me on this.

Data being the center point in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, may have come in handy in studying behavioral patterns and then training the systems. Although nowadays, developers of artificial intelligence are using simulated data as well as synthetic data in order to enhance their AI systems. This may have helped to mold the finished product, the Nervana Neural Network Processors.

Intel’s Attempt to Catch the AI Wave

Intel has been facing curve balls from one of its competitors NVIDIA. With the rise in demand of high speed processors and super-fast computing devices, NVIDIA was constantly cornering the market with its high performing GPUs (Graphical Processing Units).

These GPUs are providing the much needed computing prowess required to perform multitude of calculations when training systems.

One website reported decline in Intel’s earning due to this cut throat competition with NVIDIA.

These new set of hardware is what many describe an attempt to get back into the swing by Intel and claim its lost territory.

With the cutting edge technology and experience in AI that Nervana Systems had accumulated over the years, many believe this will provide Intel with the much needed edge in the AI based hardware.

Read Intel Announces 8th Gen Intel Core Processors

Vagueness Around Nervana Neural Network Processor’s Specifications and Price

While Intel announced the time it is going to ship the new processors, it failed to mention anything about the price and any further specifications.

For e.g. any quantitative and objective number about how much these new processors are faster than its rivals or other counterparts.

There is no clear cut information about the actual speed other than the claim by Intel that it’s right on the money to meet its goal of improving machine learning training speeds by 100 times by 2020.

However, the year end is just around the corner. So the intel fans won’t have to wait long to try and test these new Nervana Neural Network Processors.