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Put AI to work
September 17-18, 2017: Training
September 18-20, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
San Francisco, CA

Why do we need new hardware for machine intelligence?

Nigel Toon (Graphcore)
2:35pm–3:15pm Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Implementing AI
Location: Imperial B Level: Intermediate
Secondary topics:  Architectures, Deep learning
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 1 rating)

What you'll learn

  • Understand why we need new hardware for machine intelligence and the current options and challenges
  • Learn how new processing platforms will enable the next wave of machine intelligence beyond deep learning


There has been great progress in machine learning over the last few years, and innovators have begun using clusters of CPUs and GPUs to provide the massive compute required. But CPUs were designed for desktop apps and GPUs were designed for graphics. A more optimized intelligence processor would be a distinct advantage for powering the next wave of machine intelligence innovations. Innovative enterprise users would greatly benefit from more flexible, more power-efficient, and higher-performance parallel compute that has been designed specifically for machine learning workloads. The recent introduction of Google’s TPU and the use of FPGAs indicates that the market is already looking for alternatives.

Nigel Toon explains how new processing platforms will enable the next wave of machine intelligence beyond deep learning and how these machine learning innovations will impact businesses and improve competitiveness.

Photo of Nigel Toon

Nigel Toon


Nigel Toon is the cofounder and CEO of Graphcore. Previously, Nigel was CEO of two VC-backed silicon companies: Picochip, (acquired by Mindspeed in 2012) and XMOS; cofounder of Icera (acquired by NVIDIA in 2011), a 3G cellular modem chip company, where he led sales and marketing and served on the board of directors; and vice president and general manager at Altera, where he was responsible for establishing and building the European business unit that grew to over $400M in annual revenue. He is the author of three patents. Nigel currently serves as chairman of the board of directors at XMOS and as a nonexecutive director at Imagination Technologies.