Intel didn’t waste a lot of time. Nervana, based in San Diego, was founded only in 2014 and raised a $20.5 million Series A round last year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Nervana is one of what’s likely to be a growing contingent of startups focusing on deep learning. It’s an area similar to machine learning but smarter; deep-learning systems don’t need as much human intervention in order to develop knowledge.
Deep Instinct’s deep-learning system is based on graphical processing units (GPUs), chips built to handle the intense number-crunching behind high-quality computer graphics.
Intel seems more interested in what Nervana can do for CPUs. A blog entry today credited to Executive Vice President Diane Byrant cites the possibilities of applying Nervana’s intellectual property to Xeon chips.
That sets up an interesting potential rivalry, as deep learning hasn’t gone unnoticed by GPU specialist Nvidia.