No one can dispute the growth rate of two technologies that have been trending since their inception: AI & Cryptocurrency. Over the last year, the cryptocurrency market saw frequent daily swings and blistering returns. The market also knocked down several established financial markets and also garnered a cult-like following. The scores of individuals flocking to open exchange accounts and e-wallets in this market are remarkable, to say the least.
The growth of AI, on the other hand, has turned the whole world into a huge race, with tech giants like Google and Baidu rushing for patents and individual property. According to a report from Narrative Science and the National Business Research Institute, more than 60% percent of the organizations surveyed had already implemented Artificial Intelligence in some way and were also striving to find many more ways of reaping its benefits. This finding was supported by yet another research from Gartner that highlighted the 70 % growth in the world business value in 2018. The research also predicted AI to grow from $1.2 trillion to $3.9 trillion by 2022.
Though these technological growths, for the most part, benefit all business, there are few ways in which it has inconvenienced some business. Ironically they have turned once-obscure G.P.U into a trending, but hard- to- find commodity. Now let’s take have a look into the impact of both these technologies on G.P.U. Before that, those interesting in a making a lucrative career in AI can check out the AI training offered by SpringPeople. Check out AI courses here.
Impact Of AI & Cryptocurrency on G.P.U
What is G.P.U?
First developed by NVidia in 1999, Graphics Processing Unit (G.P.U) is a single chip processor used to enhance and manage the performance of graphics and video. G.P.U is also alternatively called as Visual Processing Unit (VPU). It became popular as the demand for graphics apps increased and transitioned from being an enhancement to a necessity for optimizing the performance of a PC. Now G.P.U’s are used widely not only in PC’s, but also in mobile phones, workstations, display adapters, game consoles, and workstations.
G.P.U’s are used heavily by organizations at all levels ranging from Chinese startup Malong Technologies to tech giant Google, for creating AI( Artificial Intelligence) systems. These chips are also used for mining currencies like Ethereum, a less popular cryptocurrency. With both these tech niches hoarding up the same chips, the supply of G.P.U has been inconvenienced, causing the prices to shoot up to 50 percent.
Artificial Intelligence & G.P.U
Tech companies use GUI for aiding their AI efforts, build neural networks which are complex algorithms that learn tasks by scanning volumes of data. GUI’s consume less electrical power, can be packed into small space and efficiently process huge amounts of math more efficiently as compared to the standard chips; all these contribute to its popularity in AI.
A startup based in Shenzhen China, Malong is in the process of building a system that can analyze digital photos and learn to recognize objects. This would require a lot of photos and analyze it would depend on the G.P.U chip. Malong recently ordered new hardware from a supplier in China. What happened was that their shipment got delayed and also the price of the chips shot up, 15% higher than it had been six months earlier. The company views the cryptocurrency miners as the primary reason behind the shortage.
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Cryptocurrency & G.P.U
G.P.U is being used in this domain for a very different reason. The boom in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin in the past year had attracted a lot of speculators. They started to hoard up on mid- or high-end graphics cards from AMD or Nvidia to build machines to mine bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies.GPU’s are also used in processing the math required for digital mining.
Investors are also using this chip in order to solve the mathematical problems required to authenticate payments on the network as well to create new bitcoin. The finite number of bitcoins and also the design of the network causes more power use to mine each and every new bitcoin. This had led to the demand for more powerful graphics cards to meet the challenge posed by multiple cryptocurrencies.
This demand for G.P.U has revived numerous electronic markets that were on the verge of dying as shoppers began to transition to online market for gadgets. The G.P.U shortage in the retail space has caused miners to flock around electronics bazaar in Asia, with the hope of scoring cryptocurrency rigs. Singapore’s Sim Lim Square and Hong Kong’s Sham Shui Po are few such places where people are flocking for specialized rigs.
Paving Way To Other Chips
The global shortage of G.P.U has provided an opportunity for many other chip makers. For instance, a company called Bitmain has released a new chip for particularly mining Ethereum coins; Google has built its own chip for its AI works and is giving access to it for other companies through their cloud computing service; Facebook is also bent on building its own chip for AI as indicated through its series of online job postings.
Similarly, scores of other companies are also designing similar chips, taking the already specialized GUI into an even smaller niche. This has the scope of bringing down the price of chips, which immediately follows if the supply increases.
Though now there are alternative ways to G.P.U, many in the industry feel that Nvidia, inventor of G.P.U will very hard to replace. Many organizations will continue to stick to Nvidia because of their familiarity with Nvidia as well as the multi-purpose of Nvidia’s G.P.U boards.