News & Insights for the AI Journey|Thursday, March 21, 2019
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Intel at CES: New Inference, 5G Chips 

Intel is showcasing a raft of new AI- and 5G-related products at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, staging a launch event on the eve of the conference that covered a new version of its Nervana AI processor and a demonstration of the next-generation Xeon 10nm chip, scheduled for shipment later next year.

The Nervana Neural Network Processor for Inference – NNP-I – is, according to Intel, a new class of chip for accelerating AI inference for companies with high workload demands and is expected to go into production this year. Intel said Facebook is a NNP-I development partner. Additionally, Intel said it expects to have a neural network processor for training, code-named “Spring Crest,” available later this year.

“This is a really big deal for us,” said Navin Shenoy, Intel EVP of the Data Center Group, “it expands our position in AI above and beyond what we’ve done with Xeon into a new domain.”

Intel's Navin Shanoy at CES

In addition, Intel disclosed it’s expanding its investment in network infrastructure with a new 10nm-based network system on chip (SoC), code-named “Snow Ridge,” developed for 5G wireless access and edge computing. This network SoC is intended to bring Intel architecture into wireless access base stations and allow more computing functions to be distributed at the edge of the network. Snow Ridge is expected to be available in the second half of this year. 

“This is going to bring Intel architecture into a new place where it's never been before, the wireless base station market,” Shenoy said. “Historically, base stations are cell phone towers, they've been fixed-function, proprietary hardware and software… We're taking all the technology we've developed for the server market, we're shrinking it down, we're re-purposing it and fitting it into a very small form factor, ruggedizing it, so it can sit eventually onto cell phone towers, thereby moving servers, essentially, closer to the user.”

Related to this, in autonomous driving, Mobileye – Intel’s Israeli developing vision-based driver-assistance systems – announced an agreement with U.K. mapping agency Ordnance Survey for location data to “improve operations between businesses and cities and bring us closer to the realization of smart cities and safer roads,” according to Intel. Ordnance Survey’s geospatial engineers will be paired with Mobileye’s mapping capabilities to offer location information services the energy, infrastructure and other sectors in Britain.

Intel also announced it has started revenue shipping of its next-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors, code-named “Cascade Lake,” which adds support for Intel Optane DC persistent memory and Intel DL Boost, designed to accelerate AI deep learning inference. Cascade Lake is expected to be broadly available in the first half of this year.

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