Intel announces first neural network processor

Technology company Intel has announced that the ‘industry’s first neural network processor’ (NNP) will be available for shipping by the end of the year. The processor, called Intel Nervana NNP, is expected to ‘revolutionalise artificial intelligence (AI) computing across myriad industries’ (e.g. healthcare, social media, automotive, and weather), allowing companies to develop new AI applications that maximise the amount of data processes. The NNP is described by Intel as a purpose built architecture for deep learning, whose aim is to provide flexibility to support deep learning, while making core hardware components as efficient as possible. Among other features, the NNP enables massive bi-directional data transfer, better memory management (allowing faster training time for deep learning models), and low-latency, high-bandwidth between-chip communications.