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Intel Acquires Artificial Intelligence, ML Chip Specialist Habana Labs

Intel has acquired Habana Labs, an artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI and ML) chipmaker in Israel. The $2 billion deal positions Intel in the “nascent, fast-growing AI silicon market, which Intel expects to be greater than $25 billion by 2024,” Intel said in the announcement.

Habana’s Gaudi AI Training Processor is currently sampling with select hyperscale customers, Intel indicated. Also, Habana’s Goya AI Inference Processor, which is commercially available, has “demonstrated excellent inference performance including throughput and real-time latency in a highly competitive power envelope,” Intel added.

Navin Shenoy

In a prepared statement, Intel Executive VP Navin Shenoy said:

“This acquisition advances our AI strategy, which is to provide customers with solutions to fit every performance need – from the intelligent edge to the data center. More specifically, Habana turbo-charges our AI offerings for the data center with a high-performance training processor family and a standards-based programming environment to address evolving AI workloads.”

Intel has been seeking new ways to push beyond traditional PC and server chips. Although the company’s overall data center chip business remains strong, Intel faces potential competition and market disruptions as massive cloud customers like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Facebook explore ways to leverage their own home-grown technologies or third-party processor technology such as ARM and perhaps even networking chips from Cisco Systems.

Intel Acquires Habana Labs: Deal Details

Once the deal is finalized, Intel says, Habana Labs will:

 
  • remain an independent business unit, led by its current management team;
  • report to Intel’s Data Platforms Group;
  • work closely with Intel’s AI software, algorithms and research teams to further help Habana scale and accelerate.
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