Facebook hires top Google engineer to head its in-house chip development

By Digit NewsDesk | Published on 15 Jul 2018
  • Shahriar Rabii, who lead the team in charge of building chips for Pixel smartphone’s custom Visual Core chip, has been hired as vice president and head of silicon.

Facebook hires top Google engineer to head its in-house chip development

At a time when Google and Apple are developing its own chips for uses in phones and to achieve breakthroughs in the Machine Learning, Facebook has sent out a message to the other silicon Valley giants that it is not very far behind in manufacturing its own semiconductors for different use cases by hiring a top Google engineer to head its chip building arm. According to Bloomberg, the social-networking giant hired Shahriar Rabii as vice president and head of silicon. He will report to Andrew Bosworth, the company’s head of virtual reality and augmented reality, people familiar with the matter were quoted as saying. Rabii’s LinkedIn profile says that has worked at Google, where he helped lead the team in charge of building chips for the company’s devices, including the Pixel smartphone’s custom Visual Core chip.

In April, it was reported that Facebook has been planning to make its own chips to lower dependence on chipmakers like Intel and Qualcomm and was seeking to hire a manager for a team to build “end-to-end SoC/ASIC, firmware and driver development organisation.” According to the Bloomberg report, the company is working on “semiconductors, which can be useful for a variety of different efforts, including to process information for its vast data centers and its artificial intelligence work.” Facebook is already running projects in its Oculus virtual reality division and Building 8 hardware divisions where it is reportedly working on several future devices. Earlier this year, the company launched the Oculus Go standalone virtual reality headset with a Qualcomm smartphone chip. Facebook is also working on a series of smart speakers with touch screens.

As far as other companies are concerned, this year at Google I/O, Google launched the third iteration of its Tensor Processing Unit (TPU)  -- special purpose machine learning chips that operate on company’s TensorFlow AI platform to drive all of the company’s efforts in the machine learning space. The company will be launching the third generation of the Pixel smartphones with powerful chips later this year. Apple has also been manufacturing its own processors and shipping them in iPads and iPhones since 2010. It has also made custom chips for controlling Bluetooth, cameras and conducing machine learning tasks. By 2020, the iPhone maker hopes to start shipping Macs with its own main processors. Last year, Apple came up with A11 Bionic processor that powers its iPhone 8 lineup and iPhone X. Apple claimed that the chip is its most powerful processor yet.

Digit NewsDesk

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