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Could Bitmain Prevail AI with Sophon TPU?

Micree Zhan (Zhan Ketuan), co-founder and CEO of Bitmain, delivered a speech entitled “Another Plnetary Computing Driven By AI” on the “AI WORLD 2017 Beijing”. He and officially released the BITMAIN AI Brand:SOPHON (Suanfeng in Chinese Pinyin), and the world’s first tensor computing processor:BM1680; Deep Learning Accelerating Card SC1SC1 / SC1 +, intelligent video analytics server SS1. Video demo shows that these AI products are not vaporwares, which have entered mass production stage.

bitmain sophon

Sophon TPU BM1680 SOPHON, the brand of Bitmain AI, comes from the famous sci-fi “Three Body”, meaning “Count heaven and earth, Enrich recognition and intelligence”. 

The SOPHON BM1680 TPU is also the ASIC chip to enter AI market in mainland China. It is suitable for inference prediction and training of CNN, RNN, DNN and other deep neural networks. Bitmain plans to introduce third-generation products with higher performance by 2018 and expects to launch the 4th generation of SOPHON BM products in 2019.

“Artificial Intelligence drives yet another planetary computing and new computing architectures. In terms of perceptive intelligence such as image, video, speech, and natural language recognition and understanding, AI continues to promote the intelligent transformation of the industry. “

Zhan Ketuan said.
The highly customized BMDNN Chiplink technology provides a stable, flexible, low-latency link on high-speed SerDes that allows multiple BM1680 chips to work together as a unified system that provides higher processing capacity.
It looks like just another copy of Bitcoin Mining farm.
On December 1, Bitmain Group announced the asset acquisition of the smart robot developer Beijing Luobo Technology (Luobotec). Luobotec, founded in 2014, is an AI company integrating internet, children’s education, and robots. The company was selected by China Internet Weekly as one of China’s Top 100 AI companies.

Riding on its success in cryptocurrency mining, Bitmain’s marching into the AI TPU market seems reasonable and mature. Bitmain has ambitious layout but TPU is the cornerstone of the entire in the AI ecosystem.

Bitcoin mining could be viewed as the first “planetary computing” system. Bitmain sees AI as the second technology that could reach such scale. With its current leading position in cryptocurrency mining, could Bitmain prevail in AI ecosystem?

According to eeworld report, in 2017, Bitmain has become the 2nd largest buyer in terms of foundry and assembly in China, second only to Hisilicon, Kirin Chip provider of Huawei. The fast growing of Bitmain has shocked the industry. Industrial review also points out that Bitmain could be the first batch client of TSMC to employ 7nm processing in Q2 2018.

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