Nvidia’s $40 Billion Bet, Apple’s Best Chip So Far And More In This Week’s Top News

This week, American tech giants have reignited their ambitions of becoming the centre of global chipset innovation. Nvidia which has been having a tremendous run has now probably become the biggest chip companies ever by pocketing UK’s crown jewel Arm Holdings. Arm’s architecture powers 95% of the world’s smartphones. Even that of Apple’s. Whereas, Apple too, has set a new benchmark by launching iPad Air which houses the world’s first 5 nanometer chip—A14 Bionic. Know more about what has happened this week brought to you by Analytics India Magazine.

Big Pharma Tunes Into Mellody

Machine Learning Ledger Orchestration for Drug Discovery (MELLODDY) — an Innovative Medicines Initiative-funded consortium of 10 pharmaceutical partners that includes biggies like  AstraZeneca, GSK and Novartis have announced the creation of a secure predictive modelling platform and the first successful Federated Learning run using their new platform.

The aim of the consortium is to develop a cutting-edge FL platform that enables the generation and enhancement of predictive ML models, using distributed pharmaceutical data and without exposing or revealing any of the individual company’s proprietary data and models.

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World’s First 5 nm Chips Are Here

Apple, at their latest event ‘Time Flies’, introduced an all-new iPad Air that houses a powerful A14 Bionic chip, a 5 nm chipset. This makes the iPad Air, the world’s first device to operate on a 5nm chip. “We’re excited to introduce Apple’s most powerful chip ever made, the A14 Bionic,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

A14 Highlights 

  • Apple claims to be the “first in the industry” to make use of the 5 nm process technology to manufacture chips.
  • A14 to house 8 billion transistors. 40% more than A13.
  • CPU is 40 percent faster than the one in the previous iPad Air.
  • 30% increase in graphics performance.
  • Delivers 11 trillion operations per second.

Nvidia Pockets Arm 

On Tuesday, NVIDIA announced that it would acquire Arm Limited from SBG and the SoftBank Vision Fund in a transaction valued at $40 billion. According to the terms of the transaction, NVIDIA will pay SoftBank $21.5 billion in common stock and $12 billion in cash. This includes $2 billion payable at signing. 

Deal Highlights

  • Unites NVIDIA’s leadership in AI with Arm’s vast computing ecosystem 
  • NVIDIA will build a world-class AI research and education center, and build an Arm/NVIDIA-powered AI supercomputer.
  • Arm’s open-licensing model is still intact and Arm’s IP licensing portfolio to expand with NVIDIA technology. Arm’s IP will remain registered in the U.K.

Full details here.

Oracle Closes In On TikTok Deal

Among Microsoft and a handful of other suitors, Larry Ellison’s Oracle has been chosen by Chinese internet company ByteDance to anchor itself on the US soil.

On Wednesday, Oracle confirmed it struck a deal with TikTok-owner Bytedance to become a “trusted technology provider”.  Oracle would reportedly be managing TikTok’s US data. The deal still needs approval from the US and China. Full details here. However, this deal doesn’t look like it will fly off. Today, the US government announced the banning of two of the most successful Chinese exports WeChat and TikTok from app stores. 

According to the Department of Commerce, as of September 20, 2020, the following transactions are prohibited:

  • Any provision of service to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store in the U.S.
  • Any provision of services through the WeChat mobile application for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S.

Following this announcement, ByteDance filed a case against the Trump administration in the Washington Federal Court.

Cloud Underwater?!

Microsoft came up with this idea of the underwater datacenter concept back in 2014. The objective here was to deliver lightning-quick cloud services to coastal populations and save energy. In 2018, this container sized data center helmed by Team Natick of Microsoft, placed it on the seabed of Scotland. This week, after 2 years underwater, the team retrieved the datacenter. The phase 2 of this experiment, to their surprise, has turned out to be performing well. Majority of the populations lies near to coast so why not their data?

The success of underwater data centers can mean the following:

  • Now deploy data centers in 90 days.
  • Since half of the world’s population lives within 200 km of the ocean, the data centers can be taken to the customers. 
  • Low latency.

Full details here.

Snowflake IPO Raises $3.36 Billion

Sydney based cloud data platform, Snowflake raised $3.36 billion in its initial public offering. Debuted on Wednesday, this Buffet backed cloud startup also became 2020′s biggest IPO that is expected to rake in nearly $4 billion at a valuation of roughly $33 billion just eight years after being established. Snowflake raised $479 million on a $12.4 billion valuation with the likes of Salesforce and Sequoia leading the investments.

Qualcomm Cloud AI Kit

Qualcomm Technologies announced the release of Cloud AI 100, a high-performance AI inference accelerator that uses advanced signal processing and cutting-edge power efficiency to support AI solutions for multiple environments including the datacenter, cloud edge, edge appliance, and 5G infrastructure.  The Cloud AI 100 software suite supports popular frameworks including Tensorflow & PyTorch.   The newly announced Qualcomm Cloud AI 100 Edge Development Kit is engineered to accelerate adoption of edge applications.

Ram Sagar
I have a master's degree in Robotics and I write about machine learning advancements.

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