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Intel bets big on its datacenter business and AI in 2017

Soumik Ghosh & Shraddha Singh | Dec. 13, 2016
Prakash Mallya, Head–Datacenter Group (Asia) shares Intel’s vision for the datacenter market, and explains the company’s foray into AI.

Intel has always been a partner-agnostic company, and will continue to be so. But, it's only that from a pure product player, we're also moving in as a solution player.

How different would a datacenter look in the next five years?

What you're seeing today in terms of workloads and data is not even a fraction of what you'll be seeing in the future - with smart cities and autonomous driving.

The way a datacenter would look, will have software orchestration, in general. So, if you look at the physical aspect, I'd say it would run much more on software, than what we see today. It would be much more seamless on workloads than you see today.

So, visually, a datacenter would look totally different, because we would have a distributed architecture with a lot more compute power. 

Our objective is to provide the best offering to the end user at the lowest cost of ownership, with open standard based platforms that are software orchestrated. That in a nutshell, is our datacenter approach.

Intel has expressed a lot of interest in AI and deep learning. What does Intel's acquisition of Nervana signify for its business?

Companies like Nervana try really cool innovations on neural networks, and this has increased the accuracy of these neural networks.

We of course plan to keep up with the innovation and deliver better CPU architectures and microprocessor performance from generation to generation. Even storage technology and the infrastructure around the storage capability has to be increased, because the access and speed would become a critical differentiator between whether we can do something real time or not.

Also, our effort is to drive the framework in an open source model. So, people have standardized APIs, standardized interfaces, and optimized frameworks. Then everybody can take advantage of that.

There are so many small companies, and if they are given a proprietary solution, it would be very hard to scale. But if you are given an open source framework which is optimized and then they take advantage of it and bring innovation on top, then you have magic.

Therefore the start-up culture, which I believe, is a thriving sector in India, will act as pillar of success in new emerging areas like machine learning and deep learning.

The role of open source in AI

I think you would see artificial intelligence as a place where open source is really going to thrive, and our belief is that high performance computing has always prided itself on being open source oriented.

I you look at all the frameworks, they are open source. Our objective is to optimize those frameworks to run best on our platform.


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