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Monday, August 28, 2017

Qualcomm boosts its embedded AI development with Scyfer buy

By Nick Flaherty

Qualcomm Technologies has bought an AI spin out from the University of Amsterdam to boost its embedded AI capabilities, including new hardware designs.

Scyfer has built AI systems for companies around the world and in a number of different industries, such as manufacturing, healthcare and finance. There is increasing interest in embedded AI capabilities in devices.

“We started fundamental research a decade ago, and our current products now support many AI use cases from computer vision and natural language processing to malware detection on a variety of devices — such as smartphones and cars — and we are researching broader topics, such as AI for wireless connectivity, power management and photography,” said Matt Grob, executive vice president, technology, Qualcomm Incorporated.

Qualcomm Technologies is focused on the implementation of AI on end devices – smartphones, cars, robotics, and the like – to ensure that processing can be done with or without a network or Wi-Fi connection. This includes network optimisation for on-device applications including compression, inter-layer optimisations, optimisations for sparsity, and other techniques to take better advantage of memory and space/time complexity, as well as specialised hardware architectures designed to accelerate machine learning workloads with greater performance and energy efficiency in embedded devices.

The acquisition of Scyfer brings with it a founder and renowned professor at the University of Amsterdam, Dr. Max Welling, which will help to further advance AI research and development at Qualcomm Technologies. Dr. Welling will continue his role as a professor at the University of Amsterdam, and the rest of the Scyfer team will continue to be based in Amsterdam. 

In 2015, Qualcomm Technologies and the University of Amsterdam also established QUVA, a joint research lab focused on advancing the cutting-edge machine learning techniques for mobile and computer vision, and the company says it will continue to work with the University of Amsterdam going forward.

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