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Chip Startup ­ses Light to Turbocharge AI

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Luminous Computing chip prototype

Luminous Computing, which recently raised $9 million of seed funding from prominent investors including Bill Gates and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, has an ambitious plan to accelerate AI with a new chip. While conventional semiconductors use electrons to help carry out the demanding mathematical calculations that power AI models, Luminous is using light instead.

Many industries are trying to pack an increasing amount of AI into their machines, including makers of autonomous cars and drones. But widely used electrical chips like central processing units aren't ideal for those tasks because they use a lot of power and may not be able to process data fast enough.

These limitations can cause lags and delays, which can be serious if you're relying on an AI algorithm to guide a car down a busy street.

Luminous's CEO and cofounder, Marcus Gomez, notes that in spite of all of the hype around AI, the limitations of the underlying hardware are frustrating progress. More powerful AI chips could boost everything from machine-learning models that assist doctors with medical diagnoses to new kinds of AI-driven apps that can run on a smartphone.

From Technology Review
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