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AI researchers have a new set of free hardware that they can use for their work, thanks to Intel. At the O’Reilly AI Conference in San Francisco today, the chipmaker announced a new Nervana DevCloud aimed at giving thousands of people access to the latest chips for new innovations.

Unsurprisingly, the compute capacity in the DevCloud will be provided by Intel’s Xeon processors. It will be available for free to developers, data scientists, researchers, academics, and startups as part of Intel’s Nervana AI Academy.

That academy, which opens next month for up to 200,000 participants, is accepting pre-registration starting today. It will also offer free courses, tools, and other guidance for pupils to help kickstart their learning about artificial intelligence.

The move echoes one that Google made earlier this year when the company unveiled its TensorFlow Research Cloud. The TFRC provides authorized researchers with 1,000 of the search giant’s Cloud TPUs — specialized chips for processing machine learning calculations at high speed.


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Intel has been working hard to make its chips applicable to the latest generation of machine learning algorithms, and this DevCloud could help it keep a foothold in the market. The company has made several key acquisitions in the AI space, including the purchase of Nervana, a chipmaker that produced specialized silicon for machine learning computation similar to Google’s TPUs.

The chipmaker also announced that it’s working with Tata Consultancy Services to help accelerate the development of AI systems through expert advice in an AI Center of Excellence.

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