Skip to main content

Intel buys deep-learning startup Vertex.AI to join its Movidius unit

Intel has an ambition to bring more artificial intelligence technology into all aspects of its business, and today is stepping up its game a little in the area with an acquisition. The computer processing giant has acquired Vertex.AI, a startup that had a mission of making it possible to develop “deep learning for every platform”, and had built  a deep learning engine called PlaidML to do this.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed but Intel has provided us with the following statement, confirming the deal and that the whole team — including founders Choong Ng and Brian Retford — will be joining Intel.

“Intel has acquired Vertex.AI, a Seattle-based startup focused on deep learning compilation tools and associated technology. The seven-person Vertex.AI team joined the Movidius team in Intel’s Artificial Intelligence Products Group. With this acquisition, Intel gained an experienced team and IP to further enable flexible deep learning at the edge. Additional details and terms are not being disclosed.”

A note on Vertex’s home page says the team will become part of Intel’s Movidius unit, which was formed around a computer vision chipmaking startup of the same name that Intel acquired in 2016.

Vertex says that Intel will continue to develop PlaidML as an open source project (see its Github page here), where it will continue to support a variety of hardware under an Apache 2.0 license with an Intel nGraph backend. “We are excited to advance flexible deep learning for edge computing as part of Intel,” the company said.

Intel, once a pace-setter and leader in the computing industry on the strength of its processors, has lost some momentum amid a new wave of companies building processors for mobile and other next-generation devices. The company has set its sights on being at the centre of the next wave of computing, and that is the wider context for its focus on R&D and other investments in AI. Vertex is an interesting company in that regard, as its platform is focused on building AI capabilities into a variety of chips, and is focused on helping bridge the gap between having powerful processors and actually using them to build AI into apps.

“There’s a large gap between the capabilities neural networks show in research and the practical challenges in actually getting them to run on the platforms where most applications run,” Ng noted in a statement on the company’s launch in 2016. “Making these algorithms work in your app requires fast enough hardware paired with precisely tuned software compatible with your platform and language. Efficient plus compatible plus portable is a huge challenge—we can help.” For Intel, this could mean using Vertex’s IP to help build its own applications, or potentially applications for of its customers.

It’s not clear how much funding Vertex.AI had raised. Investors included Curious Capital, which focused on pre-seed and seed-stage funding for startups in the Pacific Northwest; and the Creative Destruction Lab, an accelerator focused on machine learning startups based in Toronto.

More to come.



from TechCrunch


Popular posts from this blog

Android blatantly copies the iPhone X navigation gestures

Google unveiled some of the new features in the next version of Android at its developer conference. One feature looked particularly familiar. Android P will get new navigation gestures to switch between apps. And it works just like the iPhone X.“As part of Android P, we’re introducing a new system navigation that we’ve been working on for more than a year now,” VP of Android Engineering Dave Burke said. “And the new design makes Android multitasking more approachable and easier to understand.”While Google has probably been working on a new multitasking screen for a year, it’s hard to believe that the company didn’t copy Apple. The iPhone X was unveiled in September 2017.On Android P, the traditional home, back and multitasking buttons are gone. There’s a single pill-shaped button at the center of the screen. If you swipe up from this button, you get a new multitasking view with your most recent apps. You can swipe left and right and select the app you’re looking for.If you swipe up o…

Square launches restaurant point-of-sale platform

Square, which has already made its way into retail stores and service-based businesses (think hair salons, massage therapists, etc), is officially getting into the restaurant business with the launch of Square for Restaurants. Square for Restaurants is a point-of-sale system that handles everything from menu updates, floor layouts, employee scheduling, performance tracking to tip splitting.Usually, restaurants have “some old legacy thing or something else,” Square Seller Lead Alyssa Henry told me.“Historically, we’ve not served this customer segment very well,” Henry said. “With Square for Restaurants, we’re excited to finally be able to serve this customer segment and deliver on a couple of key things that are core to Square but also highly valued by sellers of all types.”This new product is designed to be fast, self-serve, elegant and cohesive, Henry said. It also integrates seamlessly into Square’s existing ecosystem that includes Payroll, Capital and more. Given Square’s ownership…

State Farm sponsors popular Fortnite streamer DrLupo

DrLupo, one of the biggest names and most recognizable voices in Fortnite streaming, has closed a sponsorship deal with State Farm.Bejanmin “DrLupo” Lupo has nearly 3 million Twitch followers and often plays with the world’s most popular streamer, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins. Beloved for his talent and his personality alike, Lupo has also worked as a caster for various Fortnite tournaments and events. Last year, DrLupo held a charity stream for St. Jude’s Research Hospital and raised $1.3 million.State Farm Marketing Director Ed Gold had this to say:DrLupo is one of the world’s most followed Fortnite streamers. His philanthropic efforts and massive fanbase make him an ideal partner as we continue to amplify our esports programming and efforts with the gaming community.This marks State Farm’s first sponsorship of an esports athlete. The sponsorship will include support of the stream through branded replays, live in-stream stunts and product integration (here’s me trying to imagine integratin…