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Nervana's three co-founders, Arjun Bansal,  Amir Khosrowshahi and Naveen Rao, at a meeting at DFJ, one of Nervana's investors, during the sale talks. Photo by Flickr/Steve Jurvetson.
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How Nvidia Let Intel Get an Edge in AI Chip Market

Photo: Nervana's three co-founders, Arjun Bansal, Amir Khosrowshahi and Naveen Rao, at a meeting at DFJ, one of Nervana's investors, during the sale talks. Photo by Flickr/Steve Jurvetson.

It’s the story of a missed opportunity: how Nvidia let a deep learning tech startup get away and be snapped up by its rival Intel. With its $408 million acquisition of Nervana Systems, Intel can now enter a segment of the computer chip market that could fuel a boom in artificial intelligence applications.

Nvidia’s rejection of Nervana may have broader implications for the development of deep learning technology, which is now used for things like speech and image recognition, and for steering in self-driving cars. Nervana is working on a hardware chip that it claims will be faster and more power-efficient than Nvidia’s chips. This could reduce the time it takes companies to develop deep learning applications and scale them to larger numbers of users.

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