Intel, the American multi-nation technology company and one of the world’s highest valued and largest semiconductor chip makers, has recently deployed a co-processor of its own in order to compete with rivals AMD and Nvidia, both of which offer graphics processors. Intel’s co-processors are being offered in the form for field programmable gate arrays, or FPGAs. Field programmable gate arrays are incredibly fast chips which are capable of being reprogrammed in order to perform specific tasks.
Just last year, Intel acquired Altera, the American manufacturer of re-configurable complex digital circuits known as programmable logic devices (PLDs), for $16.7 billion. This acquisition has allowed Intel to venture out beyond central processing units in order to shift their focus onto co-processors which can be utilized for demanding computing tasks. Recently, Intel Corporation has started to deliver server chips equipped with field programmable gate arrays as part of a pilot program. Intel is pairing their Altera Arria 10 FPGAs alongside its Xeon E5-2600 v4 processors in a multi-chip module. This multi-chip module is being referred to as Broad-well-EP.
Intel Corporation introduced these Xeon E5 chips just a couple of months ago. An Intel spokesman suggested that over time, the field programmable gate array technology will eventually be integrated into the same piece of silicon die as the central processing units.
FPGAs are being used by Microsoft to deliver faster Bing results and by Baidu for image search. FPGAs are less flexible than GPUs and execute tasks based on functionality programmed into a chip. FPGAs can be faster than GPUs on specific tasks, but are also very power hungry.
reported Agam Shah from PC World.
Intel plans to put FPGAs in cars, robots, servers, supercomputers and IoT devices. The chip maker has provided examples of how FPGAs could be programmed for genomics, or how the chips could tackle specific functions in a car. Integration of the FPGA into a chip will bring down power consumption and provide a direct path of communication with the CPU.
Field programmable gate arrays are also utilized in communications equipment, which Intel Corporation intends on pursuing as developments of 5G are anticipated to grow significantly. Intel Corporation - Computer Memory Parts may act as vital components to several IoT installations, which currently utilize field programmable gate arrays in order to connect devices with cloud services.