South Korean startup, Rebellions Inc., will unveil an artificial intelligence chip on Monday as South Korea joins the AI frenzy.
The move is also part of the company’s plan to compete for government contracts, and Seoul seeks a role for homegrown firms in the burgeoning AI sector.
The firm’s ATOM chip is the most recent Korean effort to take on market leader Nvidia Corp in the hardware that drives the potentially ground-breaking AI technology.
ChatGPT, a chatbot from Microsoft-backed OpenAI that generates articles, essays, jokes, and even poetry, is the fastest-growing consumer app in history just two months after launch, according to UBS. AI is a hot topic in the tech industry.
According to Mark Lipacis of Jefferies, a semiconductor analyst, Nvidia, a U.S. chip designer, accounted for around 86% of the computing power of the six largest cloud services in the world as of December.
In an effort to increase the market share of Korean AI chips in domestic data centers from practical nil to 80% by 2030, the South Korean government is investing more than $800 million over the next five years in research and development.
“It’s hard to catch up to Nvidia, which is so far ahead in general-purpose AI chips,” said Kim Yang-Paeng, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade.
“But it’s not set in stone because AI chips can carry out different functions and there aren’t set boundaries or metrics.”
ATOM from Rebellions is made to be extremely effective at running chatbot and machine vision applications. According to Park Sunghyun, co-founder and CEO of Rebellions, the chip uses only 20% of the power of an Nvidia A100 chip on certain operations since it focuses on a narrow range of jobs rather than doing a large variety of them.
The most well-liked chip for AI workloads is the A100, which is potent enough to create AI models. Samsung Electronics Co. produced ATOM, which was created by Rebellions, but does not provide training.
While Taiwan, China, France, Germany, the United States, and other nations have comprehensive plans to help their semiconductor industries, the South Korean government is unusual in focusing its efforts on AI chips.