The world number 1 in semiconductors, Intel, has put two billion dollars on the table to acquire Habana, a startup that develops chips specialized in the acceleration of artificial intelligence tasks.
Intel may be a little rowdy by AMD in the PC processor segment, but in terms of artificial intelligence, the Santa Clara firm is getting stronger than ever. She has just bought the Israeli start-up Habana, a company specializing in the development of cut chips for artificial intelligence tasks – deep learning, inference, etc.
For two billion dollars (around 1.8 billion euros), Intel is taking over technologies that should allow it to widen its lead on the AI side: between Nervana, Movidius, Mobileye and now Habana, the company acquired these in recent years most of the flagships of chip designers dedicated to artificial intelligence. Habana for its part has developed chips dedicated to AI training (Gaudi) or to image analysis and sorting (Goya) which prove to be both more energy-efficient and more efficient than the GPUs generally used for these tasks.
Number 1 in the world of semiconductors, Intel missed the shift to mobile SoCs, leaving the field open to Qualcomm, Apple, HiSilicon (Huawei), MediaTek and others. If the company seemed to have slowed down its efforts on traditional PC processors, it nevertheless took advantage of its large cash reserves to put together a strategy – and an offer – of chips dedicated to AI. It is thus trying to establish itself in a sector that was, for the time being, trusted by “classic” chips of the CPU or GPU type (depending on the tasks). If the “AI” revolution is proven, Intel could establish itself as the segment leader as it did in the CPU era.