Intel details major AI push: Nervana platform, Google alliance and more

Intel wants to see artificial intelligence technology grow, and it has announced a range of new efforts that will help achieve that growth. Says the company, it is 'assembling the broadest set of technology options' for boosting artificial intelligence abilities in all sorts of industries, including things like the auto industry (for self-driving cars), factories, and even fraud detection in the financial industry.

Chief among the company's recent AI announcement is the introduction of the Intel Nervana platform, something the company says it has built to serve as the foundation for 'highly optimized AI solutions.' In the first half of next year, Intel will test codenamed Lake Crest "first silicon" and then make it available to certain key customers later on in 2017. Lake Crest has been optimized for neural networks specifically.

Intel buys AI startup Nervana Systems for deep learning chips

Part of its roadmap also revolves around the product codenamed Knights Crest, something it says 'tightly integrates' Nervana tech with Xeon processors. The next-gen Intel Xeon Phi processors, meanwhile, are codenamed Knights Mill, and they're anticipated to offer four times the performance — again, for deep learning with availability slated for 2017.

Speaking about AI, Intel's CEO Brian Krzanich said:

Intel is uniquely capable of enabling and accelerating the promise of AI. Intel is committed to AI and is making major investments in technology and developer resources to advance AI for business and society.

On the hardware roadmap side, Intel says it has formed the new Intel Nervana AI board with four founding members and plans to tap academics and industry leaders. There's also the newly announced Intel Nervana Graph Compiler and the Intel Nervana AI Academy to give developers access to necessary tools and training.

Even bigger, though, is the announcement of what it calls a strategic alliance with Google. Under this alliance, the companies will work to improve multi-cloud environment capabilities, among other things, to 'help enterprise IT deliver an open, flexible and secure multi-cloud infrastructure for their businesses."

Intel wants to help artificial intelligence make a positive impact on society, as well, and has announced some things related to this goal. For example, Intel is a partner with Hack Harassment, and the duo is looking into artificial intelligence as a possible way to detect and reduce bullying online. The company is also a partner with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and provides AI tech to help with the center's work.

Intel's Software and Services Group SVP and General Manger Doug Fisher said:

Intel can offer crucial technologies to drive the AI revolution, but ultimately we must work together as an industry – and as a society – to achieve the ultimate potential of AI.