Intel Confirms Entry into the Crypto Space with New Custom Compute Group, First Blockchain Accelerator Shipping This Year

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Image: Intel

Intel has officially confirmed that it’s delving into the blockchain space with the creation of a new custom compute group, one that will be charged with contributing to the development of blockchain technologies and energy-efficient accelerators.

The new initiative was relayed by Raja M. Koduri, senior vice president and general manager of the Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics Group at Intel, who shared an opinion piece explaining the increasing relevance of blockchain technology and its role in allowing users to track and own their digital creations. Noting that his company is fully aware of the high energy demands of the technology, Koduri confirmed that Intel would be shipping its first blockchain accelerator later this year, one that aims to be a more energy-efficient and sustainable solution.

Intel has teased circuit innovations that should allow for future blockchain accelerators that offer over 1,000 times better performance per watt than current mainstream GPU solutions for mining blockchain networks. The company will be sharing more about its findings during this month’s International Solid State Circuit Conference (ISSCC).

Blockchain and the New Custom Compute Group (Intel Newsroom)

Digital computing continues to enrich our lives in more ways than we can imagine. We acquire, consume, and create content and services with a few clicks or taps of our fingertips. Exponential increases in compute performance, enabled by Moore’s Law, play a significant role in making these experiences seamless. Moore’s Law is also enabling us to democratize access to this enormous pool of processing power. Amazing things happen when a lot of compute is available to a lot of people without much friction.

We are looking forward to the next set of amazing things.

Blockchain is a technology that has the potential to enable everyone to own much of the digital content and services they create. Some even call it an inflection point in computing, fundamentally disrupting the way we store, process and transact our digital assets as we usher in the era of metaverse and Web 3.0. No matter how the future evolves, it is certain the availability of a lot more compute to everyone will play a central role.

Today, we at Intel are declaring our intent to contribute to the development of blockchain technologies, with a roadmap of energy-efficient accelerators. Intel will engage and promote an open and secure blockchain ecosystem and will help advance this technology in a responsible and sustainable way.

We are mindful that some blockchains require an enormous amount of computing power, which unfortunately translates to an immense amount of energy. Our customers are asking for scalable and sustainable solutions, which is why we are focusing our efforts on realizing the full potential of blockchain by developing the most energy-efficient computing technologies at scale.

Our blockchain accelerator will ship later this year. We are engaged directly with customers that share our sustainability goals. Argo Blockchain, BLOCK (formerly known as Square) and GRIID Infrastructure are among our first customers for this upcoming product. This architecture is implemented on a tiny piece of silicon so that it has minimal impact to the supply of current products.

Intel Labs has dedicated decades of research into reliable cryptography, hashing techniques and ultra-low voltage circuits. We expect that our circuit innovations will deliver a blockchain accelerator that has over 1000x better performance per watt than mainstream GPUs for SHA-256 based mining. You will be able to learn more about our circuit innovations at the International Solid State Circuit Conference (ISSCC) this month.

To support this, and additional emerging technology, we have formed the new Custom Compute Group within Intel’s Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics business unit. The objective of this team is to build custom silicon platforms optimized for customers’ workloads, including blockchain and other custom accelerated supercomputing opportunities at the edge.

Onward, we aspire to leverage technologies from our zetta-scale computing initiative to deliver energy-efficient solutions that make our tomorrow better than our today.

Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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