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PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 18: Intel signage is seen during the Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2018 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Intel acquires Seattle-based deep learning startup Vertex.AI to bolster artificial intelligence efforts

Intel has acquired Vertex.AI, a three-year-old Seattle startup whose tools let developers add deep learning capabilities to their software.

Founded in 2015 by Choong Ng, Jeremy Bruestle, and Brian Retford, Vertex and its 7-person team will become part of the Movidius team within Intel’s Artificial Intelligence Products Group. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“With this acquisition, Intel gained an experienced team and IP to further enable flexible deep learning at the edge,” Intel said in a statement.

Vertex is the developer behind PlaidML, an open-source portable deep learning engine. Intel will continue developing PlaidML and transition it to the Apache 2.0 license, according to a statement on the Vertex website.

Neural networks are an approach to AI that mimic the human brain. This company’s technology brings that type of deep learning to applications, promising results similar to those from powerful computers used in AI research.

“There’s a large gap between the capabilities neural networks show in research and the practical challenges in actually getting them to run on the platforms where most applications run,” Ng wrote in 2016. “Making these algorithms work in your app requires fast enough hardware paired with precisely tuned software compatible with your platform and language. Efficient plus compatible plus portable is a huge challenge—we can help.”

Curious Capital and Creative Destruction Lab were investors, according to PitchBook.

Intel is among many tech giants investing heavily in AI. This is Intel’s second acquisition of 2018, according to Crunchbase. It announced its acquisition of eASIC, a structured ASICs provider, last month.

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