Samsung to make Baidu's new AI chips

It's the first time the two companies have partnered.

Samsung Electronics has partnered up with Baidu to produce its new cloud-to-edge artificial intelligence (AI) chip, Kunlun, with mass production slated for early next year, the companies announced.

It is the first such partnership between the South Korean tech giant and Chinese search behemoth.

Kunlun will be built on Baidu's own XPU neural processor architecture for cloud, edge, and AI and will be made with Samsung's 14nm process.

The South Korean company will also make the chips using its I-CubeTM, or interposed-cube, package solution. I-Cube integrates a System-on-a-Chip (SoC) and a High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) onto a silicon interposer to create a single package to increase electrical transference. This results in the technology taking up less space in devices.

According to the companies, Kunlun boasts 512Gbps memory bandwidth and provides up to 260 Tera operations per second at 150 watts. The chip will also use Baidu's natural language processing framework, Ernie. The New Kunlun chip will allow Ernie to process language three times faster than conventional GPUs.

With the chip, Baidu will be able to support large-scale AI workloads such as search ranking, speech recognition, image processing, deep learning, and autonomous driving, the companies said.

Samsung has plans to expand its contract chip making business into more high performance computing chips used for cloud and edge computing, having developed a 5nm semiconductor process in April using its touted Extreme Ultra Violet (EUV) technology. 

The South Korean tech giant also announced earlier this year that it will invest $120 billion into logic chips by 2030 to become the global leader in this area.

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