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Intel Fires Back at NVIDIA over Deep Learning

intelPhoto by Roebot

It could be argued that NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) got the back-and-forth started with processor competitor Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) when it published a blog post last week titled, “Correcting Intel’s Deep Learning Benchmark Mistakes.” The “mistakes” NVIDIA VP of Accelerated Learning Ian Buck was referring to were claims by Intel that its new Xeon Phi processors were more than two times faster than competitive processors, and considerably more scalable.

Buck added fuel to the fire by suggesting that with the rapid pace of change in deep learning systems and architecture, “newcomers to the field may not be aware of all the developments that have been taking place in both hardware and software.”

In what can be described as an off-handed response, Jason Waxman, the vice president of Intel’s data center group, said in a recent post regarding his company’s artificial intelligence push, “While there’s been much talk about the value of GPUs for machine learning, the fact is that fewer than 3 percent of all servers deployed for machine learning last year used a GPU.”

NVIDIA is the king of GPUs (graphics processing units), so the target of Waxman’s rebuke wasn’t difficult to recognize.

Why the back-and-forth on machine learning/artificial intelligence between the two processor heavyweights? Because a recent (and conservative) study suggests that between 2015 and 2020, the AI market will grow at an annual rate of 53.65% and generate more than $5 billion in annual revenue in 2020.

Could be that Intel did use outdated benchmarks. Also possible that NVIDIA’s strength, GPUs, really do have a place in fewer than 3% of the AI servers sold in 2015. Either way, with so much at stake, investors can be certain we haven’t heard the last of this spat.

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Tim Brugger has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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