Intel buys AI processor startup for $2B

Business news |
By Rich Pell

The combination of the companies, says Intel, strengthens its AI portfolio and accelerates its efforts in the nascent, fast-growing AI silicon market, which it expects to be greater than $25 billion by 2024.

“This acquisition advances our AI strategy, which is to provide customers with solutions to fit every performance need – from the intelligent edge to the data center,” says Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of the Data Platforms Group at Intel. “More specifically, Habana turbo-charges our AI offerings for the data center with a high-performance training processor family and a standards-based programming environment to address evolving AI workloads.”

In June, Habana launched its Gaudi AI training processor that it says will deliver much faster processing speeds to compete with similar offerings from Intel’s rival Nvidia. Training systems based on Gaudi processors, says the company, will deliver an increase in throughput of up to four times over systems built with equivalent number GPUs.

Habana will remain an independent business unit and will continue to be led by its current management team, and its chairman, Avigdor Willenz, has agreed to serve as a senior adviser to the business unit as well as to Intel. Habana will report to Intel’s Data Platforms Group, home to the company’s portfolio of data center class AI technologies, giving it access to Intel AI capabilities, including significant resources built over the last three years with deep expertise in AI software, algorithms, and research.

“We have been fortunate to get to know and collaborate with Intel given its investment in Habana, and we’re thrilled to be officially joining the team,” says David Dahan, CEO of Habana. “Intel has created a world-class AI team and capability. We are excited to partner with Intel to accelerate and scale our business. Together, we will deliver our customers more AI innovation, faster.”

Habana Labs was founded in 2016 and has offices in Tel Aviv, San Jose, Beijing and Gdansk, Poland. Prior to this transaction, Intel Capital was an investor in Habana.

Habana Labs

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