Intel Considers Outsourcing More Chip Manufacturing Amid Delays: On July 23, Intel CEO Bob Swan announced the company was considering contracting out some of its chip manufacturing given delays with its 7-nanometer chip. Outsourcing cutting-edge chips marks a significant change: Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor firm, is known for both designing and manufacturing its own chips. The company’s stock fell nine percent on the news, while U.S.-based competitor Advanced Micro Devices’ stock rose six percent. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, is a likely contender for the outsourced work and already manufactures AMD’s chips; TSMC’s shares rose 9.5 percent.
New ML Training Benchmarks Set, Led by Nvidia: Industry consortium MLPerf released the results of its third annual competition in machine learning training, with records set by Nvidia and Google. MLPerf measured the time it takes hardware to train one of eight machine learning models — for tasks including image classification, translation and playing Go — to a specific level of performance. Among commercially available systems, Nvidia set 16 records using its DGX SuperPOD supercomputer and A100 GPU; Google led among non-commercially available systems with its newest TPU v4. The gains are due in part to chip improvements, as well as larger systems using more chips in parallel. The second MLPerf benchmark, which measures how quickly trained models can make predictions, will be published later this year.
New Zealand Publishes Multi-Agency Algorithm Charter: New Zealand Minister of Statistics James Shaw launched an Algorithm Charter to guide government agencies. So far, 25 agencies have signed on, including the New Zealand Defence Force and the Ministry of Justice. The charter requires its signatories to have plain-English explanations of their algorithms, plans to mitigate bias and human rights violations, consultations with communities affected by the algorithms and channels for appealing algorithm-informed decisions. It also includes a risk matrix to evaluate algorithmic impact and must be applied to all high-risk processes within 12 months. Shaw believes this document is the first time a country has provided standards to guide its entire government’s use of algorithms.
Investments in AI Startups Decline in Q2: According to CB Insights, global venture capital investment in AI-related startups declined in the second quarter of 2020 amid the economic downturn, although the tech sector may still be outperforming the global economy. The number of investments in AI companies dropped to a three-year low of 458 in Q2; total funds raised by AI startups also slipped from $8.4 billion in Q1 to $7.2 billion in Q2. The quarter had relatively fewer seed funding rounds, with a greater portion of investments going to mature companies. Global VC investment across sectors shows a similar decline. The tech sector’s economic indicators outperformed many other sectors in Q2, with unemployment rates continuing to decline and the largest tech companies reporting significant profits.