Intel confirmed Tuesday that it is buying deep-learning startup Nervana Systems to help it build its artificial intelligence ability. Even though the chip maker did not specify the amount it is paying, multiple sources have placed the value of the deal at $408 million.
Intel sees a connection between the cloud, increasing connectivity, endless data and the use of artificial intelligence to really make use of that data.
“While artificial intelligence is often equated with great science fiction, it isn’t relegated to novels and movies,” said Diane Bryant, Executive VP and General Manager at Intel’s Data Center Group in a prepared statement.
“AI is all around us, from the commonplace (talk-to-text, photo tagging, fraud detection) to the cutting edge (precision medicine, injury prediction, autonomous cars). Encompassing compute methods like advanced data analytics, computer vision, natural language processing and machine learning, artificial intelligence is transforming the way businesses operate and how people engage with the world.”
With the purchase of Nervana, businesses can utilize the startup’s coud service to deploy applications which make use of deep learning. This branch of artificial intelligence is used for tasks such as uncovering patterns in huge amounts of data, and image recognition.
Additionally, Nervana is developing a specialty processor. The Nervana Engine is an ASIC that is custom built for deep learning.
Artificial intelligence is a particularly hot market now and by acquiring a company with specialized ASIC hardware and proven designs, Intel is entering the market in a way that ensures that it remains relevant as computing continues to evolve.
“At Intel we believe in the power of collaboration: the goodness inherent in exchanging fresh ideas and diverse points of view. We believe that bringing together the Intel engineers who create the Intel Xeon and Intel Xeon Phi processors with the talented Nervana Systems’ team, we will be able to advance the industry faster than would have otherwise been possible,” said Bryant.