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Facebook expected to start making its own processors

In-house Facebook chips could be used in future Oculus Go headsets that currently use a Qualcomm SoC. (Source: ABC)
In-house Facebook chips could be used in future Oculus Go headsets that currently use a Qualcomm SoC. (Source: ABC)
A report from Bloomberg has stated that Facebook is creating a chip-making team. Job listings have appeared on the social-networking site’s careers section that seem to point toward this eventuality. Other tech giants, such as Apple and Google, have already started producing their own processors. Facebook-produced chips could be used in hardware or for AI-improvement purposes.

It seems Facebook is looking into becoming a chip manufacturer in the near future. A couple of job listings for the California-based company have been specifically highlighted that give credence to this suggestion. A position as a manager in ASIC Development in the infrastructure department includes this particular responsibility:

Build and manage an end-to-end SoC/ASIC, firmware and driver development organization, including all aspects of front-end and back-end standard cell ASIC development [...]

Another currently listed vacancy, this time for an ASIC & FPGA Design Engineer, seems to corroborate Bloomberg’s report:

Facebook is seeking a silicon design engineer to join our Infrastructure team. We are looking for candidates with expertise in architecting and designing semi-custom and fully custom ASICs.

Facebook utilizes machine learning for a number of its social network’s features, such as image recognition. Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) made by the company could be used to further the machine-learning process and improve upon it. It would also reduce the firm’s reliance on chips made by third-party manufacturers like Intel and Qualcomm.

It is also possible Facebook could use its own chips in hardware products: There is the delayed Facebook smart speaker that will no doubt eventually see the light of day and custom-built processors could be used in future Oculus products (Mark Zuckerberg added the VR-focused company to his portfolio in 2014).

Source(s)

Bloomberg (registration required)

Engadget

TheVerge

Forbes

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 04 > Facebook expected to start making its own processors
Daniel R Deakin, 2018-04-19 (Update: 2018-04-19)