Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Tuesday, August 11, 2020
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Intel Expands Mobileye, Nvidia Buys Cumulus Networks 

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Intel Corp. moved this week to expand its Mobileye unit with the acquisition of a transportation data startup while GPU leader Nvidia acquired network software specialist Cumulus Networks as it seeks to make headway in software-defined datacenters relying more heavily on open networking schemes.

The CPU leader (NASDAQ: INTC) said Monday (May 4) it is acquiring Moovit, a mobility-as-a-service provider, in an all-cash deal valued at $900 million. The Moovit service helps travelers plan trips by combining data on public transportation, ride hailing and bike rentals.

“The addition of Moovit brings Intel's Mobileye closer to achieving its plan to become a complete mobility provider,” Intel said. Intel acquired Mobileye, the computer vision and machine learning specialist, in 2017 for $15.3 billion.

The latest acquisition combines Mobileye’s advanced driver-assisted systems deployed in about 60 million vehicles with Moovit’s trove of transportation service data covering 3,100 cities. The Israeli startup claims more than 800 million users.

Moovit’s transportation database includes information about more than 7,500 public transit operators along with live updates from its user community to provide real-time updates on how to get from here to there.

“Combining the daily mobility habits and needs of millions of Moovit users with the state-of-the-art, safe, affordable and eco-friendly transportation enabled by self-driving vehicles, we will be able to make cities better places to live in,” said Nir Erez, Moovit co-founder and CEO.

Unlike Intel, Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) did not disclose terms of its acquisition of Cumulus Networks, which is based in Mountain View, Calif.

The Cumulus deal, following the recent completion of Nvidia’s acquisition of HPC networking specialist Mellanox, reflects the steady shift toward open networking standards for both hardware and software running in cloud datacenters.

The deal allows Nvidia to “optimize across the entire networking stack from chips and systems to software, including analytics,” the company said Monday (May 4). The networking software specialist’s Linux-based operating system for switching currently supports more than 100 hardware platforms, including Mellanox Spectrum switches.

“Nvidia’s approach to creating both the hardware and software for accelerated computing expands deeper into networking software with Cumulus,” Nvidia noted in announcing the acquisition.

Founded by networking engineers from Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) and VMware (NYSE: VMW), Cumulus Networks, has been rolling out a steady stream of new switching hardware and open networking software. The list includes networking appliances that target web-scale networking adopters. Among them was an appliance offering 1G through 100G platforms pre-packaged with Linux OS features and accompanying gear.

Prior to this week’s acquisition, Cumulus attracted more than $130 million in venture funding. In January, the startup announced a partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise(NYSE: HPE) to provide storage fabric frameworks for datacenters.

Those and other investments reflect the growing momentum of open networking efforts such as the Open Compute Project designed to encourage networking vendors to offer standard platforms that work with a variety of network operating systems.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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