Tech

Facebook is looking to design its own chips

Facebook is looking to design its own chips

Facebook is building a team to design its own semiconductors, adding to a trend among technology companies to supply themselves and lower their dependence on chipmakers such as Intel Corp. and Qualcomm, according to job listings and people familiar with the matter.

In any case it might be a bit too early to tell what Facebook has planned, assuming the report is true, so do take it with a grain of salt for now. Amazon is said to be developing chips to improve Alexa's AI smarts. Unlike Apple, Google's chips aren't in your devices, but they are hard at work in Google's data centers, delivering search results, identifying your friends in your photos, translating text, drafting Gmail message replies and screening out email spam.

Other jobs are for the system-on-a-chip design popular in smartphones, energy-efficient devices, and for Oculus-related development of SOC processors. After all Facebook doesn't exactly make its own hardware and previous hardware efforts were made with partnerships with other companies, such as their team up with HTC for the HTC First Facebook phone.

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The postings didn't make it clear what kind of use Facebook wants to put the chips to other than the broad umbrella of artificial intelligence. ASIC is an applications specific integrated unit is a computer chip designed for a particular use.

Facebook at this stage looks interested in both approaches, judging by one job posting for an ASIC and FPGA designer. The company could use such chips to power hardware devices, artificial intelligence software and servers in its data centers.

The job descriptions are categorized based on two fields: chips for artificial intelligence also called machine learning, and chips for Facebook's Oculus virtual reality headsets.

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