Facebook is about to design its own in-house chipsets and is forming a team for doing this, reports Bloomberg. This is the latest trend in tech companies and this will enable them to be less dependent on chipmakers like Qualcomm and Intel.
An FB job listing on the corporate website has been spotted describing a management position in these words: “end to end SoC/ASIC firmware & driver development organization”. The job listing also has details of AI and machine learning and talks about expertise in building customized solutions for multiple verticals, such as AI and ML. It can be inferred from this that Facebook is planning to design processors for accomplishing tasks related to Artificial Intelligence.
Yann LeCun, an AI researcher at Facebook has also tweeted regarding job listings requesting for candidates who wish to design AI chips.
Interested in designing ASIC & FPGA for AI?
Design engineer positions are available at Facebook in Menlo Park.
I used to be a chip designer many moons ago: my engineering diploma was in Electrical… https://t.co/D4l9kLpIlV
— Yann LeCun (@ylecun) April 18, 2018
An SoC is a System on Chip, which is rather like a semiconductor with different parts built on a silicon piece. It is used in mobile phones and most smartphones depend on the SoC for major functionalities.
Following Apple and Google
Facebook is probably following in the footsteps of Apple, by designing its in-house chipsets. Apple had started doing this way back in 2010 and now Apple uses its own chip for many of its product lines. As for Google, it had also started designing its own AI chipset.
It might appear to some that it will be difficult for Facebook to design better than Intel or Qualcomm, but the same was said of Apple and we all know how that went!! Apple has been immensely successful in designing its in-house CPUs as well as chipsets for iPhones and even for Macs now, with the latter being available within the next two years by 2020. Thus, Apple is able to enjoy unique opportunities with its own chipsets.
The idea behind creating its own chipsets is primarily to reduce dependency on Intel and Qualcomm and other chipmakers.
With their own in-house chipsets, Facebook will have better control over the development of products, with the improved tuning of software with hardware. The company is planning to design in-house semiconductors.
Facebook will be using these in-house chips for AI software, servers and for powering hardware devices.
Facebook plans to bring in smart speakers and these could be enhanced using its in-house customized chipsets. Very soon, Facebook is also planning to introduce Oculus Go, which is a VR headset using the Qualcomm chipset.
Use of In-house Chipsets
However, it remains to be seen how Facebook will be able to make use of its own chipsets. It’s difficult to imagine what Facebook is actually doing in the AI space. It all looks like Facebook is simply trying to join a movement that actually has nothing to do with the company in the first place.
The post is not clear about how Facebook is planning to use its new chipsets apart from mentioning artificial intelligence. Facebook has refused to make any comments regarding the job listings.