- ASIC chips are processors with unparalleled efficiency for mining digital currency.
- Tech giants like Google already utilize the chips in their AI pursuits.
- These chips can become a driving force in the AI landscape.
AI has been the talk of the town for the better part of this year. With a sudden rise in AI driven tech, the market has turned its eyes to ASIC Chips wondering if they could empower AI.
The ASIC, an integrated circuit, is hardware used to perform fixed operations.
Unlike other general-purpose circuits, such as the CPU or GPU used in computers or mobile phones, it is designed for a specific purpose.
It performs fixed operations extremely fast and efficiently as its chip logic area can be assigned to narrow processes.
Its attributes make it well-versed for artificial intelligence workloads that employ intensive processing power.
Now that tech giants have realized its utility, many are investing in it, such as Google. So let’s examine how it can function and how much of a game changer it can be.
ASIC: Turning the Tides in AI
Google’s decision to invest in ASIC technology is proof of its potential utility in the new tech landscape.
Moreover, the tech giant has long embraced the “AI first” mantra — with Google Cloud, Google Home, and other products or services.
With it, Google can regulate its hardware accelerator (TPU) and a software framework (TensorFlow) for building any new products.
Google’s computing infrastructure is the largest in the world.
By combining with ASIC for Google’s TPU v4 supercomputer, there were claims that this prevented Google from building other data centres for its AI needs.
Integrating 4,000 TPUs with optical circuit switching enabled them to improve their speed while reducing their energy consumption.
This TPU v4 supercomputer showcases its possibility in the new tech evolution and sets the pace for future advancements.
Its rise in the tech world has caught the interest of other companies like NVIDIA and Intel. Unsurprisingly, the former has begun developing its own chips, Tensor Cores.
The possible arrival of more powerful and efficient ASICs could threaten the dominance of NVIDIA in the new tech market.
But how does ASIC add up in the grand scheme of things — is it indispensable or not?
Is it a Benefit Or a Threat?
The most crucial advantage of ASIC revolves around its specialized nature. Doing one thing well enables its efficiency and speed for all AI-related operations.
On the contrary, its lack of versatility can reduce its appeal since it cannot be adapted for other tasks. It is also quite an expensive venture regarding financial and human resources.
How impactful ASIC can be in the artificial intelligence space remains to be seen, but early indications are encouraging.
Nonetheless, to fully dominate the market, ASIC must withstand the challenges of scalability, implementation, and affordability.
Its emergence in the AI processor terrain has the probability of fundamentally affecting how such applications are developed.
With tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft exploring ASICs, a good future for it bodes well.
As new technological innovations spring up, many predict that a combination of technologies, as opposed to a dominant one, is the future for the semiconductor industry.
Therefore, it would be premature to write off GPUs and FPGAs in a bid to crown ASIC the king.
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