Tuesday , 19 June 2018
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Nvidia chief downplays Google’s A.I. chip

Nvidia has staked a big chunk of its future on supplying powerful graphics chips used for artificial intelligence, so it wasn’t a great day for the company when Google announced two weeks ago that it had built its own AI chip for use in its data centers.

Google’s Tensor Processing Unit, or TPU, was built specifically for deep learning, a branch of A.I. through which software trains itself to get better at deciphering the world around it, so it can recognize objects or understand spoken language, for example.

TPUs have been in use at Google for more than a year, including for search and to improve navigation in Google Maps. They provide “an order of magnitude better-optimized performance per watt for machine learning” compared to other options, according to Google.

That could be bad news for Nvidia, which designed its new Pascal microarchitecture with machine learning in mind. Having dropped out of the smartphone market, the company is looking to A.I. for growth, along with gaming and VR. 

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