Intel is acquiring Saffron AI, a North Carolina-based startup specializing in cognitive computing platforms similar to IBM’s Watson technology. The chip maker announced the deal on Monday, but the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
How Intel could benefit from Saffron
Intel is presently eying three segments. It aims to put as many chips as it can into edge devices, which include laptops, watches, gateways or any gadget that collects data, and stores it back to the network, says a report from Fortune. As Intel was late to the smartphone party, it missed much of this opportunity, but now it is trying to compensate for this with its Curie platform for wearables.
Secondly, it is making general purpose chips, which is something that Intel is known for. It makes chips for servers that process data and power data centers that make use of the the cloud. Intel’s third opportunity is a combination of the above two, and this is where Saffron could help the chip giant. As the computer industry evolves, the chip maker is aiming to convert general-purpose chips into doing very specific jobs.
This demands dedication, which comes from artificial intelligence. This was one of the main reasons Intel agreed to spend $16.7 billion on Altera, which developed a programmable chip that allows a company to change its software to optimize hardware for a specific code, says the report.
Microsoft already uses such chips for its search algorithm. Such programmable ships can also be used in algorithms for artificial intelligence. Therefore, Intel’s Saffron acquisition is another big move (after Altera) on dedicated processors for artificial intelligence, the report said.
Saffron: what it offers
Saffron’s technology analyzes data from clients to come up with similarities and relationships to “learn” about that topic. It is believed that the startup has developed software that is very similar to human reasoning and memory, and it uses this technology to offer solutions to clients. It also has n-house natural language processing that understands vocabulary or language submitted by the client. All this helps in analyzing a large volume of data and coming up with meaningful insights for the client.
“We see an opportunity to apply cognitive computing not only to high-powered servers crunching enterprise data, but also to new consumer devices that need to see, sense and interpret complex information in real time,” Intel said when announcing the deal.