NIPS: Start-ups race Intel, Google in race to release A.I. chips

Chipmakers focused on artificial intelligence are in a race to obtain hardware out the door, a style that’s on full screen this week in a significant industry event found in Southern California.

A little-known start-up called Wave Processing shared exhibit floor space with tech giants including Google and Microsoft at the 31st annual Neural Information Processing Systems conference.

Wave is showcasing a motherboard sitting in the glass case, but one key part is missing: a processor. The chip itself will prepare yourself “very soon,” Lee Flanagin, Wave’s senior vice president and chief organization officer, told CNBC.

Graphcore, a European AI start-up, in the same way has space on the floor but doesn’t have a chip showing. In fact, the company is even without a table at the conference. Graphcore stated in July that its chips would become available to early customers before the end of the entire year, but the timing provides since slipped to “the start of 2018.”

A well-funded start-up called Cerebras is among additional market newbies with representatives floating around the sold-out NIPS conference.

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