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Intel reportedly dropping Nervana in favour of Habana Labs for AI chips

Intel has been looking to pin its flag in the AI market for years now, with efforts to create AI chips kicking off with the purchase of Nervana in 2016 and extending to a huge $2 billion acquisition of Israeli firm, Habana Labs. While Intel only just announced new Nervana Neural Network processors a few months ago, it looks like the company's time is coming to an end. 

As reported by Forbes this week, while Intel planned to release both inference and training AI processors from Nervana in 2019, development is coming to a stop. The NNP-I inference chip will still be supported for previously committed customers but the NNP-T AI training chip is cancelled.

Image credit: Habana Labs

Apparently, Nervana's chips just weren't performing well enough to keep up with the demands of Intel's customers. In particular, these chips weren't good enough to compete with Nvidia, but Intel's acquisition of Habana Labs could turn the tides.

Habana Labs is now expected to be the flagship for Intel's AI accelerating processor plans. In particular, the Habana Gaudi product line is expected to take over from where Nervana has left off. 

KitGuru Says: We were talking about Nervana's new chips just a short while ago, so this move does seem sudden, although the writing was seemingly on the wall once Intel decided to acquire Habana in December. 

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