The AI Race expands: Qualcomm reveals “Cloud AI 100” family of datacenter AI inference accelerators for 2020

The impact that advances in convolutional neural networking and other artificial intelligence technologies have made to the processor landscape in the last decade is unescapable. AI has become the buzzword, the catalyst, the thing that all processor makers want a piece of, and that all software vendors are eager to invest in to develop new features and new functionality. A market that outright didn’t exist at the start of this decade has over the last few years become a center of research and revenue, and already some processor vendors have built small empires out of it.

But this modern era of AI is still in its early and the market has yet to find a ceiling; datacenters continue to buy AI accelerators in bulk, and deployment of the tech is increasingly ratcheting up in consumer processors as well. In a market that many believe is still up for grabs, processor markers across the globe are trying to figure out how they can become the dominant force in one of the greatest new processor markets in a generation. In short, the AI gold rush is in full swing, and right now everyone is lining up to sell the pickaxes.

In terms of the underlying technology and the manufacturers behind them, the AI gold rush has attracted interest from every corner of the technology world. This has ranged from GPU and CPU companies to FPGA firms, custom ASIC markers, and more. There is a need for inference at the edge, inference at the cloud, training in the cloud – AI processing at every level, served by a variety of processors. But among all of these facets of AI, the most lucrative market of all is the market at the top of this hierarchy: the datacenter. Expansive, expensive, and still growing by leaps and bounds, the datacenter market is the ultimate feast or famine setup, as operators are looking to buy nothing short of massive quantities of discrete processors. And now, one of the last juggernauts to sit on the sidelines of the datacenter AI market is finally making its move: Qualcomm