In the future, AI technology will surely penetrate into various industries and applications, which makes us full of imagination for the future. The exploration of new fields and new technologies is always full of temptation. The continuous exploration of new technologies by these industry leaders is admirable, but the future development of AI technology requires the leadership of these technical veterans, as well as the innovation and struggle of rising stars.
Recently, the former Intel chip god-level figure Jim Keller announced that he has joined the AI chip startup Tenstorrent as the company’s president and chief technology officer and a member of the board of directors.
The reason why Jim Keller is called a great god is because of his rich resume and great technical strength. He has worked in many well-known semiconductor companies, including AMD, Broadcom, Apple and Intel, etc. At the same time, he has also studied technologies such as Alpha, X86, MIPS, AI and ARM. After researching a new technology every time, he chose to wave his sleeves, turn around and set off for the next field. But Keller previously said in an interview that he had no so-called plans and plans for his career, and it was all random work and interesting experiences.
After Jim Keller announced his departure from Intel not long ago, the industry is speculating about where his next stop will be. Some speculate that he will retire directly, while others speculate that he will turn to AI chips again to open up new fields of artificial intelligence. Sure enough, he finally chose to join the AI chip startup Tenstorrent.
Tenstorrent is also a not-so-simple AI chip startup. It was founded in 2016, and the members of the start-up team have more than ten years of industry experience. Tenstorrent was created to focus on advancing artificial intelligence and machine learning through a new approach and architecture to meet the rapidly growing computing demands of the software 2.0 era. It was also listed by foreign media CRN as one of the 10 coolest AI chip startups in 2020.
Source: British hardware evaluation media AnandTech
In April 2020, Tenstorrent released its first AI chip, Grayskull, with a computing power of up to 368TOPS. Grayskull can also take deep learning performance to the next level with the industry’s first conditional execution architecture that dynamically eliminates unnecessary computation.
After joining Tenstorrent, Jim Keller will be primarily responsible for solving the hardware solutions required for Software 2.0, using machine learning methods to solve problems previously solved by traditional software. Jim Keller also said that the software 2.0 era is the greatest opportunity for computing innovation, because the ultimate computing innovation requires a comprehensive rethinking of computing and the underlying software.
In addition to Jim Keller’s choice to join the AI chip startup, another veteran semiconductor industry veteran also chose to join the AI chip startup as the next stop in his career, that is, the former CEO of Mentor Graphics (now acquired by Siemens), Mentor, A Siemens Business CEO Emeritus Walden C. Rhines (Wally).
Before Mentor Graphics was acquired by Siemens, Wally served as CEO for 23 years. In addition to his previous tenure in semiconductor companies such as TI, he has worked in the semiconductor industry for more than 40 years. After Mentor Graphics was acquired by Siemens, Wally planned to slowly step down from Mentor’s job to focus on consulting, for which he also established his own consulting company. But last year he opted to join Cornami, an AI chip startup.
Pictured: Cornami CEO Walden C. Rhines
Wally previously said in an interview with the media that he chose Cornami because of its technology, because Cornami’s co-founder and CEO Paul Master told Wally that they could make fully homomorphic encryption (FHE). Chips come true. FHE is a form of encryption that allows computations to be performed on data without decryption, and is known as the Holy Grail of cryptography. Wally has previously investigated FHE and determined that no such chip has come out. It will take 10-20 years to realize this idea, because the performance of FHE is about 1 million times stronger than that of the current top servers. But Paul convinced Wally that Cornami could do something similar.
Cornamii started out as a software company. They then built a new way of machine learning that arranges the individual elements of the chip for machine learning training and inference. Cornamii adopts a unique shrink array method, which can build the structure of shrink array of any size and shape according to the needs. These odd array shapes make it very efficient to move inputs and outputs between computational elements. As a result, Cornami chips can minimize memory and cache references, thereby significantly reducing power consumption and latency, and improving performance. At present, Cornamii’s products are still in the final stage of chip verification, and specific products are expected to be launched this year.
It can be seen that these semiconductor industry leaders all have a soft spot for AI technology, and they all choose to join AI chip startups in the final stage of their possible careers. Because AI is an extremely challenging field, it is also one of the main driving forces for the development of science and technology in the future, and it is also an accelerator of innovation. In the future, AI technology will surely penetrate into various industries and applications, which makes us full of imagination for the future. The exploration of new fields and new technologies is always full of temptation. The continuous exploration of new technologies by these industry leaders is admirable, but the future development of AI technology requires the leadership of these technical veterans, as well as the innovation and struggle of rising stars.