Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) announced Tuesday through its official website that it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire artificial intelligence (AI) software company Nervana Systems on a reported $350 million deal.
Just days before, Apple bought Seattle-based machine learning and AI startup, Turi, for $200 million. Last month, DeepMind AI technology showed Google how to cut its electricity bill. Intel’s move follows a trend of AI-related purchases that started back in 2011.
Founded in 2014 and based in San Diego, California and Palo Alto, California, Nervana Systems provides had raised $28 million in funding to finance the Nervana Neon deep learning framework, Nervana Cloud deep learning platform, and the Nervana Engine deep learning hardware.
Nervana and Intel will complement each other
The funding was led by Data Collective and its Managing Partner, Matt Ocko, praised Nervana saying it has the potential to build and sell GPUs faster and more power-efficient than NVIDIA as well as boards, systems and even supercomputers which can surpass similar efforts from Facebook, Google, Baidu or Microsoft.
These projects enable businesses to create their personalized deep learning solutions, and they will carry on according to a blog post from Nervana CEO and co-founder Naveen Rao.
Exclusive: Inside the Nervana Systems, Intel acquisition with CEO Naveen Rao. 14 nm future; sw stack, and mre https://t.co/1vT5iYVxHV
— The Next Platform (@TheNextPlatform) August 10, 2016
For their part, Intel representative Diane Bryant assured that Nervana’s expertise in deep learning technology would enhance Intel’s portfolio in the field of AI. Nervana’s Neon and Cloud will further improve the Intel Math Kernel Library, while its Engine will upgrade the deep learning performance of Intel’s Xeon and Xeon Phi processors.
Tech companies know AI represents the industry’s future
“AI is about to transform industry after industry,” said Andrew Ng, deep-learning pioneer and chief scientist at Chinese Internet giant Baidu Inc.
All of the world’s largest tech companies have noticed it too. Apple was faster than the rest and kickstarted the AI trend with its purchase of AI personal assistant Siri back in 2010. In buying Turi, Apple expects to increase its expertise in artificial intelligence, machine learning processes, and data science. For that, the Turi team will take the lead on the Siri project.
Google was next when it acquired DeepMind Technologies, now Google DeepMind, for $500 million in 2014. The DeepMind team designed a computer Go program called AlphaGo that amazingly defeated top professional players of the notoriously difficult game “Go.” And then helped Google reduce its cooling bill and overall power usage by a whopping 40% and 15%, respectively.
.@intel Acquires #DeepLearning #Startup @nervanasys for Reported $350 million: https://t.co/oFz7ffEbjs #acquisitions #investments #AI
— AI Business (@Business_AI) August 10, 2016
Google, like Apple, is also currently offering AI personal assistants. Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook have also jumped on board with the goal of becoming the top AI assistant in the market.