Amazon shifts some voice assistant, face recognition computing to its own chips


An Amazon Echo Dot displays a video feed of the backyard in a model home in Vallejo, California. Amazon said the shift to the Infertia chip for some of its Alexa work has resulted in 25% better latency, which is a measure of speed, at a 30% lower cost. — Bay Area News Group/TNS

Amazon.com Inc on Nov 12 said it shifted part of the computing for its Alexa voice assistant to its own custom-designed chips, aiming to make the work faster and cheaper while moving it away from chips supplied by Nvidia Corp.

When users of devices such as Amazon’s Echo line of smart speakers ask the voice assistant a question, the query is sent to one of Amazon’s datacentres for several steps of processing. When Amazon’s computers spit out an answer, that reply is in a text format that must be translated into audible speech for the voice assistant.

Amazon previously handled that computing using chips from Nvidia but now the “majority” of it will happen using its own “Inferentia” computing chip. First announced in 2018, the Amazon chip is custom designed to speed up large volumes of machine learning tasks such as translating text to speech or recognising images.

Cloud computing customers such as Amazon, Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc’s Google have become some of the biggest buyers of computing chips, driving booming data center sales at Intel Corp, Nvidia and others.

But major technology companies are increasingly ditching traditional silicon providers to design their own chips. Apple on Tuesday introduced its first Mac computers with its own central processors, moving away from Intel chips.

Amazon said the shift to the Infertia chip for some of its Alexa work has resulted in 25% better latency, which is a measure of speed, at a 30% lower cost.

Amazon has also said that “Rekognition”, its cloud-based facial recognition service, has started to adopt its own Inferentia chips. However, the company did not say which chips the facial recognition service had previously used or how much of the work had shifted to its own chips.

The service has come under scrutiny from civil rights groups because of its use by law enforcement. Amazon in June put a one-year moratorium its use by police after the killing of George Floyd. – Reuters

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 18
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Datacentre

   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

Next In Tech News

Qualcomm takes aim at Apple with line of wireless audio chips
Exclusive: Apple faces EU antitrust charge on Spotify complaint - sources
Explainer: Honda unveils its new level 3 technology, but how does it work?
Exclusive: Amid shortage U.S. suppliers to Chinese chip giant SMIC struggle to get export licenses
WhatsApp adds voice and video calling feature to desktop version
Exclusive: U.S. suppliers to Chinese chip giant SMIC slow to get export licenses
Global semiconductor shortage spurs run on vintage chipmaking tools
'I will shoot whoever I see': Myanmar soldiers use TikTok to threaten protesters
Twin sisters score Japan’s hottest IPO by making games for women
Amazon, Google vie for piece of India digital payment market

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers