Qualcomm Bets Big On AI, Machine Learning

by CXOtoday News Desk    Aug 17, 2017

qualcomm

Qualcomm is betting big on the artificial intelligence (AI) world. The chipmaker announced that it’s acquiring Scyfer, a Netherlands-based machine learning startup. Scyfer has been working on AI for companies in industries such as manufacturing, health care and finance. 

The company said in a news release, it envisions a world where AI makes devices, machines, automobiles, and things much more intelligent, simplifying and enriching our daily lives. In 2007, Qualcomm started exploring spiking neuron approaches to machine learning for computer vision and motion control applications, and later expanded the scope of the research to look not just at biologically inspired approaches but artificial neural networks — primarily deep learning.

Fast forward to today, Qualcomm Technologies is announcing the acquisition of Scyfer B.V, a company affiliated with University of Amsterdam and focused on cutting-edge machine learning techniques, to add a talented team to its roster. Scyfer has built cutting-edge AI solutions for companies worldwide and in a number of different industries, such as manufacturing, healthcare and finance.

“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.

Many companies focus on the execution of AI workloads in the cloud, but 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. The benefits of on-device AI include immediate response, enhanced reliability, increased privacy protection, and efficient use of network bandwidth, the company said.

In July, Qualcomm made available the Qualcomm Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine software development kit for developers from multiple industries—mobile, automotive, healthcare, security and imaging—to get the tools they need to deliver on-device neural network-driven user experiences.

Qualcomm Technologies continues to push AI research forward and is bringing cutting-edge machine learning technologies to the forefront. Examples of such efforts include advances in neural network techniques for semi-supervised and unsupervised training like generative adversarial networks (GANs), distributed learning, and network optimization for on-device applications and specialized 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. Qualcomm Technologies is excited to continue to work with the University of Amsterdam going forward, underscoring the importance of educating future generations in this important field.