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Custom Chips: Technology Vendors Invest in Design of Custom Semiconductors and Chips

By Dick Weisinger

As technology behemoths like Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and Google grow massive investments in data centers, they are increasingly looking to build the chips and electronics that drive those centers themselves.  Companies like Intel and Qualcomm currently are two of the main providers of processors.

Apple recently announced that starting in 2020 that they would be using chips designed and manufactured themselves in Macs, a blow to Intel.  Apple is also developing their own chips for the iPhone.

Google created a custom ASIC processor known as the Tensor Processing Unit that is designed for its TensorFlow AI training platform, the TPU.

Amazon Web Services is developing custom semiconductors for cloud computing.  James Hamilton, VP at AWS, said that “We’re in the semiconductor business! We think this is a really big deal.”

Recently, Facebook also posted job openings for chip designers too.

Nick Statt, writer for the Verge, wrote that “AI tasks, because they are so computationally intensive, often need custom-designed chips for the devices themselves and even custom-designed servers for data centers where AI algorithms are often trained, developed, and deployed from the cloud.”


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