Bitcoin mining industry giant, Bitmain, is getting into the field of AI research via its developmental chip, called the Sophon, which employs deep learning to improve computation.
The Sophon: Where Bitcoin and AI Meet
Bitmain had made its intentions clear that it is interested in deep learning, a branch of machine learning that studies algorithms that are modeled after the human brain itself.
The significance of this kind of research is to get machines to replicate the brain’s organic ability to identify patterns, thus learning new solutions, on its own, to different kinds of problems.
The idea behind The Sophon is to bring Bitmain’s expertise to the field of deep learning and possibly even create deep learning rigs and rent out the computing power of those rigs to clients.
To do this, they will embed some of the most common deep learning algorithms into their new chips — thus improving efficiency and generating results and learning from those results at a far quicker pace.
Bitmain to Make a Name for Itself
The catch is that tech giants like Nvida, Google, and AMD already dominate deep learning research — which means the cost of entry into the market will not be cheap.
However, some experts see the idea of Bitmain going into the field and taking over the industry as a very plausible scenario.
Michael Bedford Taylor, a professor at the University of Washington who has studied the bitcoin mining industry, is one of those experts.
He thinks that they could change the face of hardware all together with their specialized knowledge of specialized chip making.
We are about to see the emergence of all kinds of ASICs clouds, and the bitcoin hardware community has demonstrated that under the right conditions this can happen rapidly as a grassroots effort.
Additionally, Wang Jun, who heads the AI program under Micree Zhan, thinks that Bitmain has a natural edge over current deep learning enterprises.
His argument is that Bitcoin mining has evolved similarly to the deep learning field, but that the former has already gone through the entire evolutionary process, while the latter is still going through growing pains.
For deep learning, ASIC’s are the next natural step in that evolution and the best in the business in the Bitcoin arena happens to be Bitmain.
What do you think of Bitmain’s decision to explore deep learning research? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Bitmain, Micree Zhan, Digital Trends