Business News: The AI Revolution, Facebook FPGA Chatter, and Chip Sales Update

April 20, 2018 | 01:17
Gone are the days of tech companies focusing solely on their core product offerings. Today, chip makers are working on artificial intelligence projects, IP vendors are investing in IoT security research, and social media giants are looking into silicon design (and even FPGAs). We believe these are positive signs pointing to a healthy, evolving industry. Let’s review some of the most compelling electronics industry news stories from the past week.
 
  • The AI Revolution Continues: Every few days, we find out about new artificial intelligence-related innovations by top tech companies. For instance, on April 11, Qualcomm unveiled its Vision Intelligence Platform, which is designed for IoT devices featuring the latest advances in AI and computer vision. This week, we learned that Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE), Arm, SUSE, and three UK universities plan to develop an Arm-based, high-performance supercomputer for AI research. According to an HPE, “The key focus of the Catalyst UK program is to investigate and showcase the potential of Arm-based HPC installations. This is one of the current approaches to overcome the limitations of traditional computer architectures and offer a better price-performance ratio for modern workloads and applications. This includes AI.” Learn More
 
  • Nvidia Makes Top 10 in Chip Sales: Fabless chip supplier Nvidia is now on the Top 10 list for chip sales. In 2017, the company posted total sales of $8.57 billion, which was a 42.3% increase over the previous year. Samsung and Intel topped the list with $62.03 billion and $61.40 billion in sales, respectively.
     
  • Facebook FPGA Chatter: During the past few days, journalists and engineering geeks have been speculating on blogs and social media that Facebook might be looking move into the silicon design game. The chatter has been about a Facebook employment ad for an “ASIC & FPGA Design Engineer.” Is Facebook looking to move into yet another business, or does it simply need some FPGA expertise on its “infrastructure team”? We’ll leave the speculation to the techies on the Internet and just wait to see what happens.
     
  • Speed Matters: During the last several days, a few chip companies have made headlines with news about new blazing-fast benchmarks. In a recent blog post, Intel boasted that its Stratix 10 chip can run 10 trillion calculations per second. In other news, AMD launched its second-generation Ryzen desktop processors, which feature enhanced capabilities over their predecessors. According to AMD, "higher effective clock speeds on all second gen Ryzen processor cores can improve the performance of Ryzen processors in popular real-world applications like games, creativity and productivity applications ... select second gen Ryzen processors offer up to 20 percent faster content creation than the competition."
     
  • Cybersecurity Tech Accord: This week, 34 top global companies signed the Cybersecurity Tech Accord and pledged they will not assist governments in deploying cyberattacks against innocent companies and businesses. The signees—which include Arm, Trend Micro, Cisco, and Facebook—committed to defend and protect "users and customers everywhere." The Accord is based on four core principles: protecting users irrespective of culture or location; opposing cyberwarfare against innocent civilians and companies; helping customers to strengthen security; and working to establish formal and informal security partnerships with civilians, industry, and researchers. Learn More
 
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