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Inside AI (Aug 20th, 2019)

1. Intel Corp. unveiled its first AI chip on Tuesday at the Hot Chips 2019 Conference in Silicon Valley. The processor, called Nervana NNP-I or Spring Hill by Intel, is designed for inference tasks at large computing centers. Based on a 10 nanometer Ice Lake processor, it can handle large workloads - up to 3,600 images per second - while consuming low power (10 Watts). In announcing the new chip, Intel noted that it has invested more than $120 million in three AI startups in Israel, including Habana Labs and NeuroBlade. - REUTERS

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2. H2O.ai, an open-source AI and machine learning platform, raised $72.5 million in seed funding, which it plans to use to accelerate innovation and expand its sales and marketing globally. The Series D round was led by Ping An Global Voyager Fund and Goldman Sachs - which is also a customer of the platform - with participation from Wells Fargo, NVIDIA, and Nexus Venture Partners. As part of the round, Jade Mandel from Goldman Sachs will be joining the H2O.ai Board of Directors. The Mountain View, California-based company, which provides data science tools for companies, has raised a total of $147 million. - TECHCRUNCH

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3. Huawei is expected to unveil its first commercial AI chip, as well as a new open-source AI computing framework, later this week. Huawei Rotating Chairman Eric Xu will announce the chip and the framework via a live-streamed launching event on Friday, according to invites that were sent out Tuesday. This story is developing; check back this week for updates. - XINHUA

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4. The former head of Apple’s Siri division, Bill Stasior, is leaving the company to join Microsoft’s artificial intelligence division. He will take on the title of corporate vice president, reporting to Chief Technology Officer Kevin Scott, and lead an artificial intelligence group. Stasior will not be working on Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant. Microsoft is separating Cortana from search, moving it into the Windows Store as a standalone app. - THE INFORMATION

This story first appeared in Inside CTO.

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5. Google's AI labs revealed a new project that uses machine learning to track a person's hands, which could help translate sign language on smartphones. The method for high-fidelity hand and finger tracking can infer 21 3D keypoints of a hand from only a single frame, researchers Valentin Bazarevsky and Fan Zhang wrote in a blog post. The two noted that the method works in real-time on mobile phones and can scale to multiple hands, adding that they hope the hand perception functionality "will result in an emergence of creative use cases, stimulating new applications and new research avenues." - TELEGRAPH

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6. China still lags behind the U.S. in several AI metrics, a new report suggests. Despite China's bold AI efforts, the U.S. "still leads in absolute terms," followed by China and the European Union, according to the CDI report, which analyzed each country's AI sector. In the report, the U.S. was found to lead AI in four of six categories: talent, research, development, and hardware; Chinese led in the two other two categories: adoption of AI and data. The CDI, or Washington-based Center for Data Innovation, noted that the order could change as China continues to make "more rapid progress than either the United States or the European Union." - US NEWS

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7. Idaho's Department of Fish and Game will use Microsoft's AI software to estimate the wolf population in the state. The new technique for studying wildlife numbers involves taking millions of images of the wilderness with cameras that take the pictures simultaneously. This ensures an "independent estimate," so any wolves captured on camera are definitely individual wolves. The estimates are averaged together using a statistical model. - SPOKESMAN-REVIEW

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8. Scale AI's founder, 22-year-old Alexandr Wang, spoke with Business Insider about his ambitions for the company, including plans to turn the data-labeling startup into the infrastructure for ML technology. Wang's startup, which has caught the attention of some of Silicon Valley's top investors, recently raised $100 million in series C funding round, which valued the three-year-old company at $1 billion. Wang himself is a phenom, excelling at coding competitions and receiving job offers while still in high school before dropping out of MIT to build the startup. The firm's software tools do the initial task of labeling pictures before they're sent off to contractors. - BUSINESS INSIDER

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9. Top energy and tech organizations are calling on the U.K. government to create an International Center for AI, Energy, and Climate, which could help the country meet its goals in the Paris climate accord. Energy UK, techUK, and Greenpeace are among the groups that signed a letter to U.K. Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom, International Development Secretary Alok Sharma. and Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Nicky Morgan. The letter says that AI will become essential in the energy sector as data management for things like solar and wind forecasting improves. - ENERGY LIVE NEWS

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10. Robots.Net lists its picks for the best machine learning tools. They include Keras, Intel Nervana, SAP Leonardo, and SAS Enterprise Miner, which can be used by both novices and professionals, according to the website. - ROBOTS.NET

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Written and curated by Beth Duckett in Orange County. Beth is a former reporter for The Arizona Republic who has written for USA Today, Get Out magazine and other publications. Follow her tweets about breaking news and other topics in southern California here.

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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