South Korean Startup Rebellions Introduces AI Chips To Compete In The Market.

Korea's latest effort to challenge Nvidia Corp., the market leader in the hardware that powers the potentially game-changing AI technology, is the ATOM chip developed by this company. An estimated 86% of the chip market that provides power to the world's major cloud services is now controlled by Nvidia, an American chip designer.

South Korean Startup Rebellions Introduces AI Chips To Compete In The Market.

Korea’s latest effort to challenge Nvidia Corp., the market leader in the hardware that powers the potentially game-changing AI technology, is the ATOM chip developed by this company. An estimated 86% of the chip market that provides power to the world’s major cloud services is now controlled by Nvidia, an American chip designer.

Rebellions Inc., a South Korean startup, showcased an AI chip on Monday as part of its bid for government contracts and as Seoul looks to establish a place for domestic enterprises in the expanding AI sector. With its ATOM chip, the company is Korea’s latest attempt to take on Nvidia Corp., the industry leader in the hardware that powers the potentially game-changing AI technology.

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In just two months since its inception, ChatGPT, a chatbot powered by Microsoft that can produce articles, essays, jokes, and poetry, has become the fastest-growing consumer app in history. Artificial intelligence (AI) is currently all the rage in the IT sector. The US chip maker Nvidia, which as of December accounted for almost 86% of the processing power of the six top cloud services in the world, owns a considerable portion of high-end AI chips, claims semiconductor analyst Mark Lipacis of Jefferies.

More than $800 million will be invested by the South Korean government over the next five years for R&D to expand the market share of Korean AI chips in domestic data centres from almost zero to 80% by 2030.

Senior researcher at the Korea Institute of Industrial Economics and Trade Kim Yang-Paeng claims that Nvidia has an insurmountable advantage in general-purpose AI processors and that other businesses will have a hard time closing the gap. Nothing is fixed in stone, though, as AI chips are capable of a wide range of jobs, and there are no established restrictions or benchmarks.

The Rebellions ATOM is optimised to perform well in demanding machine vision and chatbot environments. Park Sunghyun, co-founder and CEO of Rebellions, claims that because the processor concentrates on a small number of tasks rather than performing a wide range of activities, it uses 20% less power than an Nvidia A100 chip during some processes.

The A100 is the most popular AI workload chip because it is powerful enough to “train” (or “construct” in business lingo) the AI models. ATOM, developed by Rebellions and made in Korea by Samsung Electronics Co., does not offer instruction.

While several other countries, like Taiwan, China, the United States, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, have elaborate plans to aid their semiconductor businesses, the South Korean government is unique in its emphasis on AI chips. An official from Seoul’s Ministry of Science and ICT said that the city would only accept proposals from domestic chipmakers for two data centres, or “neural processing unit farms,” that will be advertised this month.


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To foster international competition, the government of a country whose industries produce half of the memory chips in the world wants to create a market that can act as a proving ground for AI chipmakers. According to Rebellions’ Park, a former engineer at Morgan Stanley, the government is pressing data centres to use specific chips.

He asserted that without it, Nvidia processors would likely continue to be used by data centres and their customers. According to the SK Telecom Co. subsidiary, Sapeon Korea Inc. will also be a part of the initiative. FuriosaAI, sponsored by the Naver Corp.-owned top South Korean search engine and the government-run Korea Development Bank, confirmed to Reuters that it would also compete.

“The developments made by Nvidia are rapidly gaining ground. According to Alan Priestley, an IT research firm Gartner analyst, it will take time for these companies to achieve traction. However, government incentives similar to those offered in Korea might affect the market share there.

Rebellions will attempt to join the government initiative in collaboration with KT Corp, a prominent Korean telecom, cloud, and data centre operator, to wean Nvidia customers away from the US supplier.

According to KT vice president Bae Han-chul, the partnership between KT and Rebellions will give us access to an “AI full stack” that includes hardware and software based on local technology. “Globally, there is undue reliance on foreign GPUs (graphics processing units).

Rebellions, a manufacturer of AI chips, declined to give an estimate. It has successfully raised 122 billion won, which is equivalent to $96 million, with the South Korean government contributing 10 billion won in the form of a grant and KT of South Korea contributing 30 billion won as part of an investment round alongside Temasek Pavilion Capital of Singapore.

South Korean government fosters chip production.

According to analysts, Rebellions’ new chip may increase South Korea’s capacity to compete in the Nvidia-dominated market for AI chips. “Rebellions’ Atom AI chip will compete with Nvidia AI chips. The semiconductor industry’s fastest-expanding market is for AI processors. The existence of competition in this market is a good thing, according to Pareekh Jain, CEO of Pareekh Consulting. So, he concluded, “It has a fair chance of growing and challenging Nvidia.”

To increase its footprint in the domestic data centre industry, the South Korean government has been attempting to expand research and development in the AI chip sector. By 2030, the government anticipates that AI chip usage will make up one-third of all chip demand, having budgeted roughly $800 million over the next five years.

Cloud computing, artificial conversational intelligence, artificial generative intelligence like ChatGPT, computer vision, robotics, the metaverse, autonomous vehicles, quantum computing, the blockchain, cryptocurrencies, cybersecurity, and payments are all areas where AI chips are used.

Cost, however, is one of the main obstacles to implementing the new technology, according to Jain. According to Jain, “the widespread availability of affordable AI processors will help democratise many of these emerging technologies.”

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CIOs and CTOs have more supply chain options.

For compute-intensive tasks, CIOs and CTOs from many industries require AI chips. There were few options up until this point, and Nvidia dominated the market. Rebellions may be able to compete favourably with Nvidia if it can scale up. Competition is constantly beneficial for sourcing. According to Jain, businesses felt the need to diversify chip suppliers and geographic areas, as we have seen during the chip shortage, to reduce supply chain risks and delays.

According to Jain, “rebellions with the South Korean ecosystem can be a good alternative both as a provider and as a geographical area.” “And Rebellions can help CIOs even on the cost side if it arrives with attractive pricing and offers comparable or better performance than Nvidia.”

edited and proofread by nikita sharma

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