April 16, 2021
NVIDIA announced its first data center CPU
Nvidia on Monday said it plans to make a server central processing unit (CPU) based on technology from Arm Ltd, putting it in direct competition with rival Intel.
Intel is the world’s biggest maker of CPUs for data center servers, but has increasingly seen competition from Arm-based chips. With its “Grace” server processor, Nvidia will be the largest chip company so far to challenge Intel in its key market.
The new Grace is named after computing pioneer Grace Hopper, and it’s coming in 2023 to bring “10x the performance of today’s fastest servers on the most complex AI and high performance computing workloads,” according to Nvidia. That will make it attractive to research firms building supercomputers, of course, which the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) and Los Alamos National Laboratory are already signed up to do in 2023.
Nvidia is trying to acquire ARM from Japan’s SoftBank Group for $40 billion, and Nvidia assured the company would continue to license its technology to chipmakers that rely on it, including Apple and Qualcomm.
Microsoft buys speech recognition firm Nuance for $19.7 billion
Microsoft announced this week that it’s acquiring speech-to-text company Nuance Communications for $19.7 billion.
Nuance is best known for its Dragon software, which uses deep learning to transcribe speech, while improving its accuracy over time by adapting to a user’s voice. Nuance has licensed this tech for many services and applications, including, most famously, Apple’s digital assistant Siri. Dragon is an industry leader in terms of transcription accuracy.
“AI is technology’s most important priority, and healthcare is its most urgent application. Together, with our partner ecosystem, we will put advanced AI solutions into the hands of professionals everywhere to drive better decision-making and create more meaningful connections, as we accelerate growth of Microsoft Cloud in Healthcare and Nuance,” Nadella said in a post announcing the deal.
The Nuance acquisition represents Microsoft’s largest acquisition since it bought LinkedIn for more than $26 billion in 2016. Last month, Microsoft completed its $7.6 billion acquisition of gaming company Zenimax.
Intel’s Mobileye teams up with Udelv on driverless delivery service
Intel’s Jerusalem-based subsidiary Mobileye has teamed up with Silicon Valley startup Udelv in an effort to put automated electric delivery vehicles into service in the United States by 2023, the companies said on Monday.
Deliveries will be made using a new type of cabin-less vehicle called The Transporter. While manufacturing plans are still in flux, Mobileye and Udelv say they will produce 35,000 Transporters between 2023–2028 — a signal of their seriousness to launch a driverless delivery system at scale.
Mobileye, which was acquired by Intel for $15.3 billion in 2017, has widened its scope in recent years, moving beyond its advanced driver assistance technology and toward the development of a self-driving vehicle system. More than two years ago, Mobileye announced plans to launch a kit that includes visual perception, sensor fusion, its REM mapping system and software algorithms. And in 2018, the company made an unlikely turn and announced plans to become a robotaxi operator, not just a supplier. Mobileye also plans to deploy autonomous shuttles with Transdev ATS and Lohr Group beginning in Europe, as well as to begin operating an autonomous ride-hailing service in Israel in early 2022.