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Facebook is reportedly developing custom server chips

Add Facebook to the listing of corporations that could possibly be making an attempt to cut back its dependence on Intel and Qualcomm. According to The Information, the social media large is developing a suite of custom chips for its knowledge facilities. One of the processors is reportedly designed to energy machine studying duties, together with the algorithm that handles Facebook’s content material suggestions, whereas one other would help in transcoding movies to enhance the standard of livestreamed movies.

In addition to serving to cut back its dependence on outdoors chipmakers, the transfer to custom silicon may assist Facebook decrease the carbon footprint of its knowledge facilities. The new chips would work alongside the third-party processors the company presently makes use of in its servers, and reportedly aren’t meant to utterly substitute what it already has.

“Facebook is always exploring ways to drive greater levels of compute performance and power efficiency with our silicon partners and through our own internal efforts,” a spokesperson for the company instructed Engadget after we reached out to the company in regards to the report. “We don’t have anything new to share on our future plans presently.”

It wouldn’t be a stretch for Facebook to dip its toes in custom silicon. The company has already dabbled in semi-custom chips. In 2019, as an illustration, it announced it was engaged on an application-specific built-in circuit (ASIC) for video transcoding and inference work. It additionally would not be the primary company to take a look at designing its personal chips to enhance effectivity and save on prices. Google has had its Tensor chips since 2016, and, as of final year, Microsoft was reportedly exploring custom chips for its personal servers as properly.    

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