Intel pays $350m for two-year-old AI company

Intel pays $350m for two-year-old AI company

Intel is said to be paying over $350 million for a two-year-old 48-person start-up called Nervana, which is involved in deep learning and AI (artificial intelligence).

Pictured is Intel’s datacentre boss Diane Bryant with the Nervana founding team.

Nervana has raised $25 million in venture capital and has a contract with the US intelligence community’s venture arm In-Q-tel. Its CEO is a former Qualcomm neural net researcher, Naveen Rao.

Nervana’s next line of ICs will be able to transfer data in and out at 2.4 terabytes per second and with very low latency, at a rate five to 10 times faster than the fastest I/O interfaces for traditional chips, according to Rao.

Nervana investors are Playground Global, Data Collective, DFJ, Lux Capital and Allen & Co.

“At Intel we believe in the power of collaboration: the goodness inherent in exchanging fresh ideas and diverse points of view,” said Diane Bryant, executive vice president and general manager of the Data Center Group at Intel. “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. We will continue to invest in leading edge technologies that complement and enhance Intel’s AI portfolio.

“We will share more about artificial intelligence and the amazing experiences it enables at our Intel Developer Forum next week.”

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