March 24, 2017
By Bob O'Donnell
Chip giant Intel announced a new organizational structure that pulls together several different initiatives, products and research around Artificial Intelligence into a single group being led by former Nervana CEO Naveen Rao. The new group, which will report directly to CEO Bryan Krzanich, is intended to focus all of Intel’s various AI efforts into a single cohesive vision that the company can leverage across R&D, engineering, silicon and software.
The move by Intel is just the latest of many the company has taken recently to diversify its focus and make clear to the industry (and investors) that it wants to stay at the leading edge of computing applications. AI is clearly going to be a key issue for a long time to come and Intel is making this strategic adjustment to try and maximize its effectiveness and influence in the burgeoning new field.
By combining engineering efforts across several different chip architectures—including the Nervana-branded dedicated AI silicon efforts—as well as traditional x86 and Altera FPGA technologies, Intel has the potential to make a significant impact on AI. Of course, how this concept will be implemented in reality, and what effect it will have, remains to be seen. Conceptually, however, the new organization makes a great deal of sense and positions Intel nicely to take an important position in the field of AI.
It’s particularly important for Intel because some of the key applications of AI are expected to be areas that Intel has already announced they intend to focus on, including autonomous driving, IoT, health care and more. It’s also interesting because Intel is one of the few companies that’s pushing several different types of chip architectures to be used in AI. Clearly not all AI applications will be the same, nor require the same kind of computing requirements, so by offering a range of different options that are suited to different types of tasks, the company could become a more attractive provider for potential partners.
To execute well on that vision, Intel will really need to leverage the software assets it acquired as part of Nervana and figure out how to combine it with any existing software that may have been created in other groups. As with any merger, the devil will be in the details of how those assimilation efforts move forward, but the possibilities are intriguing.
Here's a link to the column: https://techpinions.com/unpacking-the-weeks-news-friday-march-24-2017/49222
Bob O’Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech.
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