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Intel Buys Out Artificial Intelligence Startup Vertex.ai

Intel has taken-over Vertex.ai, a small startup dedicated to deep learning technologies.

In a statement Intel confirmed the acquisition and said the seven-person team — including founders Choong Ng and Jeremy Bruestle will be joining 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,” the technology giant added.

Financial details were not disclosed.

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Founded in 2015, Seattle-based Vertex.ai is a startup which focuses on deep learning technologies, a crucial aspect of artificial intelligence (AI). Deep learning is a facet of AI which involves the use of algorithms and patterns based on the brain’s mechanisms and neural networking.

The idea behind deep learning is to give machines the learning and processing capabilities of humans, such as natural data analysis, pattern spotting and conversational abilities.

Voice recognition systems including the Apple Siri voice assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, Facebook’s photo recognition technology, and IBM’s Watson all use deep learning technologies to process data.

In order to reach the goal of creating “deep learning for every platform,” Vertex created PlaidML, a deep learning engine rival to Google’s TensorFlow CPU. The software has been created to deploy deep learning solutions across multiple devices and platforms.

In a statement on its website, Vertex said this project will not be stopped due to the acquisition. Instead, PlaidML will remain available as an open-source project on GitHub and the system will soon be transferred to an Apache 2.0 license.

Intel will have a hand in development though by using the technology to create an Intel nGraph backend system.

Vertex commneted: “We are excited to advance flexible deep learning for edge computing as part of Intel.”

Investing

It is not clear how much funding the startup has secured in the past. However, Pitchbook suggests that the company has launched two investment rounds in the past, an early stage VC and accelerator round. Creative Destruction Lab and Curious are listed as previous investors.

Intel is pushing towards increasing its presence in the AI field. The company is interested in hiring more AI developers in the area and the acquisition builds upon the purchase of chipmaker Altera, computer vision firm Movidius, and Nervana Systems, a creator of AI processors.

Speaking at an Intel event earlier this month, Navin Shenoy, Intel executive vice president, said that AI was a crucial ingredient which would push forward Intel’s vision to become a data-centric company.

As reported by VentureBeat, Shenoy said Intel’s AI processor business is now worth $1 billion a year, but the firm aims to hit $10 billion by 2020.

Shenoy  stated: “We believe data defines the future our industry and the future of Intel.”

“Ninety percent of the world’s data has been created in the last two years, and only 1 percent of it is being analyzed and used for real business value. We are in the golden age of data.”
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CBR Staff Writer

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