Intel just introduced a new type of chip that could have big implications for artificial intelligence.
The company is experimenting with a new “self-learning” chip that’s designed to learn like the human brain.
Called the “Intel Loihi test chip,” the processor is what Intel calls a “neuromorphic chip,” meaning it’s designed to learn from its environment. The chip could be used for an array of AI-intensive applications, but the company says it will be particularly impactful in industrial automation and personal robotics.
“The Intel Loihi research test chip includes digital circuits that mimic the brain’s basic mechanics, making machine learning faster and more efficient while requiring lower compute power,” Michael Mayberry, managing director of Intel Labs, wrote in a statement.
This could help computers self-organize and make decisions …
“This could help computers self-organize and make decisions based on patterns and associations.”
Intel isn’t the first to develop a chip specifically for AI applications. Google has its cloud-based Tensor Processing Units (TPUs), which also aim to speed up machine learning processes. But Intel’s approach is different in that the Loihi test chip is designed to work and learn locally on whatever machine it’s inside of.
Having self-learning capabilities localized on a chip also has unique advantages over cloud-based systems, according to Intel. It could end up being much faster, for one, since a system can learn without data needing to move back and forth between the chip and the cloud.
Intel says it also doesn’t need the same type of training as most AI systems currently do, making it more efficient.
The chip is still a prototype for now, but the company plans to begin working with universities and other researchers next year to develop it further.