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Intel's megachips will take on Nvidia's GPUs and Google's TPUs

Agam Shah | June 22, 2016
Intel's next Xeon Phi chip, coming in 2018, will also be tuned for machine learning.

Intel is providing a blueprint so systems with these new features can be easily deployed, Wuischpard said.

Intel also has FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays), a technology it is placing bets on as a speedier alternative to CPUs. It acquired FPGA technology after it bought Altera for $16.7 billion last year. FPGAs are used by Microsoft to deliver quicker Bing results, and by Baidu to speed up image search results.

FPGAs have the unique trait of being reprogrammable, and could take on specific machine-learning tasks like object recognition. FPGAs could emulate graphics functions, but aren't as versatile as GPUs. FPGAs are limited to specific applications programmed into the chip, and are also known to be power hungry.

Intel could plug FPGAs into the already-speedy Xeon Phi chips. Intel is integrating FPGAs alongside Intel Xeon server processors in a multichip package, and hopes to integrate it inside processors in the future.

 

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