Many of the breakthroughs in artificial intelligence have only been made possible because companies now have access to previously unimaginable amounts of computing power, but now there is an arms race to create the “best” AI infrastructure stack.


Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced today at the Google I/O developer conference that Google have begun to build its own custom Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) chips called Tensor Processing Units (TPUs), after the name of it’s open source deep learning framework TensorFlow. But the technology is one of a kind – something that makes sense only at Google’s hyper scale.


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These TPUs were the ones used in the AlphaGo artificial intelligence (AI) powered Go player that beat top ranked Go player Lee Sedol earlier this year and they’ve also already been put to work inside Google search and Google Street View. Now it sounds like they will become available for other companies to use, too.

“When you use the Google Cloud Platform, you can take advantage of TPUs as well,” said Pichai, but Google aren’t just relying on new speciality hardware to take on public cloud leader Amazon Web Services (AWS), over time Google will expose more and more machine learning APIs, Pichai said. Google has already launched the Cloud Machine Learning Platform service and the Vision API.


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“Our goal is to lead the industry on machine learning and make that innovation available to our customers,” said Google distinguished hardware engineer Norm Jouppi.

“Building TPUs into our infrastructure stack will allow us to bring the power of Google to developers across software like TensorFlow and Cloud Machine Learning with advanced acceleration capabilities. Machine Learning is transforming how developers build intelligent applications that benefit customers and consumers, and we’re excited to see the possibilities come to life.”

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.


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