Qualcomm Announces Its New Cloud AI 100 Chip

Currently, Nvidia and Intel are dominating the market for AI chips with both companies releasing new, innovative products and partnering with tech powerhouses to develop these chips like with Intel and Facebook. Qualcomm Inc, who are known for their cutting-edge Snapdragon processors for smartphones, is joining the mix with their recently announced their new Cloud AI 100 chip.

The Cloud AI 100 is being designed to speed up inference, which is the process where an AI is trained with lots of data and then goes on to do a specific task such as classifying music. This is important as analysts believe that speeding up inference will be the largest part of the AI chip market in the future.

The recently announced Qualcomm Cloud AI 100 chip. (Image Credit: Qualcomm)

The recently announced Qualcomm Cloud AI 100 chip. (Image Credit: Qualcomm)

This chip would be the first AI chip for cloud computing and Qualcomm is also addressing a different problem with their first entry into the market. The AI chips in the market made by Nvidia and Intel use a lot of power and require a large cooling system, both of which are expensive to sustain. As mentioned earlier, Qualcomm specialises in making chips for smartphones, so the chips run on small batteries and do not have much cooling. This means that the Cloud AI 100 is expected to not consume a lot of power and not generate a lot of heat.

Cristiano Amon, Qualcomm's president and chief of its chip division, says that they aim to target the chip at small data centres so that consumers can benefit from faster response times when they use websites or apps that need the Internet. This means that these smaller data centres have a cheaper solution to provide a better service as they can use an AI chip that is less expensive to run compared to the ones currently in the market.

The company claims that its new cloud chip would be able to do 350 tera operations per second and at peak performance, it would be more than 50 times faster than its Snapdragon 820 chip. The incredible speed of the chip will definitely give Nvidia and Intel a run for its money and it means that Qualcomm will have a good chance of entering a market that rivals their current chip-making business.

A comparison between the Cloud AI 100 chips and two Snapdragon chips. (Image Credit: Qualcomm)

A comparison between the Cloud AI 100 chips and two Snapdragon chips. (Image Credit: Qualcomm)

Qualcomm says it plans to partner with companies such as Microsoft to test out its new Cloud AI 100 and wants to begin mass production in 2020.