Meta Reveals AI Chips to Revolutionize Computing

Yana Khare 23 May, 2023 • 3 min read

In a significant development, Meta has unveiled its first custom-designed computer chip, explicitly tailored for processing artificial intelligence programs. The chip is the Meta Training and Inference Accelerator (MTIA). It consists of a mesh of blocks of circuits that operate in parallel. Additionally, it runs using software that optimizes programs using Meta’s PyTorch open-source developer framework. It is also mainly optimized for deep-learning recommendation models.

Meta's AI chips

Meta’s Chip Optimized for Deep-Learning Recommendation Models

Meta characterizes the MTIA chip as tuning it for one type of AI program: deep learning recommendation models. These programs can look at a pattern of activity, such as clicking on posts on a social network, and predict related, possibly relevant material to recommend to the user. This significant development showcases how developers can customize and optimize hardware and software for specific use cases.

A Family of Chips for Accelerating AI Workloads

Meta Training and Inference Accelerator (MTIA) | AI chip | Meta | deep learning

TheMeta Training and Inference Accelerator (MTIA) is part of a “family” of chips that Meta is developing for accelerating AI training and inferencing workloads. This indicates that Meta is not content with just one specialized chip. Moreover, it invests in building a range of chips tailored to different aspects of AI programs.

A Next-Gen Data Center Optimized for AI

Meta also discussed a “next-gen data center” it is building that “will be an AI-optimized design, supporting liquid-cooled AI hardware. Additionally, it will be a high-performance AI network connecting thousands of AI chips for data center-scale AI training clusters.” This demonstrates Meta’s commitment to creating a fully integrated AI ecosystem. It includes from hardware to software to data center design.

Meta’s Custom Chip for Encoding Video

Meta also revealed a custom chip for encoding video called the Meta Scalable Video Processor (MSVP). Facebook users use the chip to efficiently compress and decompress video and encode it into multiple formats for uploading and viewing. This is an intelligent move, as people spend half their time watching videos on Facebook, with over four billion video views daily.

Building Its Own Hardware Capabilities Gives Meta Greater Control

Building Its Own Hardware Capabilities Gives Meta Greater Control

“Building our own [hardware] capabilities gives us control at every layer of the stack, from data center design to training frameworks,” said Alexis Bjorlin, VP of Infrastructure at Meta. By developing its chips, Meta can optimize its AI programs for specific use cases and have greater control over the entire AI ecosystem.

Our Say

Meta’s announcement follows other giant tech companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon, who have also developed their custom chips for AI. They use standard GPU chips from NVIDIA that currently dominate the field. However, its focus on deep learning recommendation models and its commitment to building a fully integrated AI ecosystem could set it apart from competitors.

Developing custom AI chips is a significant step forward for Artificial Intelligence and computing. Companies like Meta can achieve greater efficiency and performance by tailoring hardware and software to specific use cases. Thus, leading to faster and more accurate AI predictions. It will be interesting to see how this technology develops and shapes the future of computing.

Yana Khare 23 May 2023

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