Ex-Qualcomm Snapdragon chief turns CEO at AI chip startup MemryX

Meet the new boss


A former executive leading Qualcomm's Snapdragon computing platforms has departed the company to become CEO at an AI chip startup.

Keith Kressin will lead product commercialization for MemryX, which was founded in 2019 and makes memory-intensive AI chiplets.

The company is now out of stealth mode and will soon commercially ship its AI chips to non-tech customers. The company was testing early generations of its chips with industries including auto and robotics.

The previous CEO and company co-founder, Wei Lu, will slip into the role of CTO.

Qualcomm last week introduced new Snapdragon chips for Android smartphones and Windows PCs at the company's tech summit in Hawaii. Kressin bolted Qualcomm on Friday, once the announcements and festivities were complete, and joined MemryX this week.

The MemryX AI chip is more like a programmable mesh, with memory and logic coupled tightly that could be mapped to an AI model. The company's initial focus is on computer vision and on smaller networks with localized memory, with no need to access external DRAM, which could slow down AI applications.

The chip includes embedded floating point execution units, which are typically found on larger AI chips like GPUs. That will aid in faster low-level processing to analyze and identify patterns in data.

"Part of my job is to figure out which customers we're gonna prioritize and how to scale -- that's what we look forward to doing in 2022," Kressin told The Register.

The company's target is mainly edge devices and commercial customers in markets like auto, many of which are taking chip development in their own hands to take control of the supply chains. The chiplet model allows MemryX to resize the chips for larger deployments.

"We'll take their model, run it and show them their performance of their model in their office. That'll be something that others can't do," Kressin said.

AI chips are a hot market, with Cerebras Systems last month raising $250 million in its latest round of funding. Cerebras has the world's largest chip, and while MemryX's chip comes nowhere close in size, they share a common theme -- a big focus on memory.

MemryX's chip is power-efficient and can be tweaked for specific workloads, while Cerebras can handle multiple AI models on a single chip. The MemryX chip cuts of the switching fabric typically found in larger chips, which helps reduce the size and other overheads.

The AI chip market is dominated by Nvidia, but many AI chips are being implemented in edge devices and the cloud to run inferencing and deep-learning applications. Amazon's AWS recently announced it was announced it was bringing Habana's AI chips to its cloud offerings.

But the challenge for non-tech companies has been figuring out the cost involved in deploying an AI model, which includes costs related to time, labor, electricity. The goal of CIOs is to figure the outcome is worth the time and money spent.

Kressin's biggest challenge will be to contend with many other AI chip startups trying to address those fundamental AI questions posed by CIOs, said Nathan Brookwood, a chip analyst.

AI is a hodge-podge of techniques, and there's no analytical way to sort out the best approaches to solve problems, Brookwood said. AI chip startups have to first prove that AI software works, and even more challenging, that it works on their hardware.

"Right now we're in the hype cycle of AI. You go from the hype cycle to people getting disappointed, and reality sets in, and real growth starts to take place," Brookwood said. ®

Similar topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • North Korea pulled in $400m in cryptocurrency heists last year – report

    Plus: FIFA 22 players lose their identity and Texas gets phony QR codes

    In brief Thieves operating for the North Korean government made off with almost $400m in digicash last year in a concerted attack to steal and launder as much currency as they could.

    A report from blockchain biz Chainalysis found that attackers were going after investment houses and currency exchanges in a bid to purloin funds and send them back to the Glorious Leader's coffers. They then use mixing software to make masses of micropayments to new wallets, before consolidating them all again into a new account and moving the funds.

    Bitcoin used to be a top target but Ether is now the most stolen currency, say the researchers, accounting for 58 per cent of the funds filched. Bitcoin accounted for just 20 per cent, a fall of more than 50 per cent since 2019 - although part of the reason might be that they are now so valuable people are taking more care with them.

    Continue reading
  • Tesla Full Self-Driving videos prompt California's DMV to rethink policy on accidents

    Plus: AI systems can identify different chess players by their moves and more

    In brief California’s Department of Motor Vehicles said it’s “revisiting” its opinion of whether Tesla’s so-called Full Self-Driving feature needs more oversight after a series of videos demonstrate how the technology can be dangerous.

    “Recent software updates, videos showing dangerous use of that technology, open investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the opinions of other experts in this space,” have made the DMV think twice about Tesla, according to a letter sent to California’s Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), chair of the Senate’s transportation committee, and first reported by the LA Times.

    Tesla isn’t required to report the number of crashes to California’s DMV unlike other self-driving car companies like Waymo or Cruise because it operates at lower levels of autonomy and requires human supervision. But that may change after videos like drivers having to take over to avoid accidentally swerving into pedestrians crossing the road or failing to detect a truck in the middle of the road continue circulating.

    Continue reading
  • Alien life on Super-Earth can survive longer than us due to long-lasting protection from cosmic rays

    Laser experiments show their magnetic fields shielding their surfaces from radiation last longer

    Life on Super-Earths may have more time to develop and evolve, thanks to their long-lasting magnetic fields protecting them against harmful cosmic rays, according to new research published in Science.

    Space is a hazardous environment. Streams of charged particles traveling at very close to the speed of light, ejected from stars and distant galaxies, bombard planets. The intense radiation can strip atmospheres and cause oceans on planetary surfaces to dry up over time, leaving them arid and incapable of supporting habitable life. Cosmic rays, however, are deflected away from Earth, however, since it’s shielded by its magnetic field.

    Now, a team of researchers led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) believe that Super-Earths - planets that are more massive than Earth but less than Neptune - may have magnetic fields too. Their defensive bubbles, in fact, are estimated to stay intact for longer than the one around Earth, meaning life on their surfaces will have more time to develop and survive.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022