Facebook to design its own chips

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Facebook to design its own chips

Targets AI and video optimisation.

Facebook has revealed plans to start developing its own chips, potentially to chase gains around executing artificial intelligence and video-based workloads.

The social network published two job advertisements that, among other things, show it wants to “build and manage an end-to-end SoC/ASIC, firmware and driver development organisation” at its Silicon Valley headquarters.

The organisation is set to cover “all aspects of front-end and back-end standard cell ASIC development”, from defining the silicon architecture through to validation of the finished product.

In a separate but related advertisement, Facebook said it wanted “to understand limitations of current hardware” and gather the expertise of engineers from across the company “to build custom solutions targeted at multiple verticals including AI/ML, compression, and video encoding”.

The two roles being initially sought are an FPGA/ASIC [field programmable gate array/application specific integrated circuit] design engineer and an ASIC development manager.

An ASIC - as the name suggests - is a type of chip that is designed with a specific application in mind, whereas an FPGA can be programmed and reprogrammed after it has been created.

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