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Intel Launches Nervana Artificial Intelligence Platform
Posted November 18, 2016
Intel Launches Nervana Artificial Intelligence Platform
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By Jef Cozza. Updated November 18, 2016 9:19AM

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Tech giant Intel has announced a new strategy focused on artificial intelligence (AI) and based on a new portfolio of technologies centered on its recent acquisition of AI company Nervana Systems. The new portfolio will include products and services for everything from network edge to data center use cases to help accelerate the growth of AI technologies.

“Intel sees AI transforming the way businesses operate and how people engage with the world,” the company said in a statement yesterday. “Intel is assembling the broadest set of technology options to drive AI capabilities in everything from smart factories and drones to sports, fraud detection and autonomous cars.”

Achieving Nervana

Dubbed Intel Nervana, the new platform comes courtesy of the company’s acquisition of the two-year-old Nervana Systems announced three months ago. The platform will be optimized for AI workloads with an emphasis on both speed and ease of use.

The first product in the platform, a chip codenamed “Lake Crest," will begin testing in the first half of next year and will eventually be available to key customers later that year, according to Intel. Lake Crest is optimized specifically for neural networks to deliver the high performance for deep learning, the company said.

Meanwhile, Intel also announced plans for a new product codenamed “Knights Crest" that will integrate its existing Xeon processors with AI technology from Nervana.

“We expect the Intel Nervana platform to produce breakthrough performance and dramatic reductions in the time to train complex neural networks,” said Diane Bryant, executive vice president and general manager of Intel's data center croup, in the statement. “Before the end of the decade, Intel will deliver a 100-fold increase in performance that will turbocharge the pace of innovation in the emerging deep learning space.”

New AI Developer Academy

The company also highlighted its plans for other AI assets, including Intel Saffron Technology, a business insights platform that leverages memory-based reasoning techniques and transparent analysis of heterogeneous data. Intel said the technology is also particularly well-suited to small devices, making intelligent local analytics possible across Internet of Things devices and helping advance state-of the-art collaborative AI.

Intel also announced a strategic alliance with Google to help enterprise IT deliver an open, flexible and secure multi-cloud infrastructure for their businesses. The collaboration includes technology integrations focused on Kubernetes containers, machine learning, security, and IoT.

To support development of products for AI technology, the company also announced the launch of the Intel Nervana AI Academy to provide access to training and tools for software developers. It also introduced the Intel Nervana Graph Compiler tool to help accelerate deep learning frameworks on Intel hardware.

“Intel is committed to AI and is making major investments across technology, training, resources and R&D to advance AI for business and society,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in a blog post. “Our goal is to compress the innovation cycle from conception to the deployment of increasingly intelligent, robust and collaborative machines.”

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