Published On: Thu, Sep 20th, 2018

Israeli startup Habana Labs launches “world’s fastest artificial intelligence (AI) chip”

Emerging from stealth mode, Habana Labs introduces its production-ready chip. Habana founded in 2016 led by Avigdor Willenz. Some speak to the value of close to $1 billion

Avigdor Willenz Habana Labs. Photo source techtime

An Israeli startup, Habana Labs, has come out of stealth to announce officially its “world’s fastest artificial intelligence (AI) chip” as claims.

The company said it is sampling its first AI processor to select customers. Habana’s PCIe card based on its Goya HL-1000 processor delivers 15,000 images/second throughput on the ResNet-50 inference benchmark, with 1.3 milliseconds latency, while consuming only 100 watts of power.

Habana Labs also said its AI processors offer one to three orders of magnitude better performance than solutions commonly deployed in data centers today. “To meet the ever-increasing demand for AI workloads, the industry needs a new kind of processing. Legacy CPU and converted-GPU architectures are not delivering the required performance.”

Habana’s AI chips that are installed in computer systems and data centers can process vast amounts of data (big data) such as identifying people in pictures, creating nervous system models, analyzing feelings in texts and much more.

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Founded in 2016 by experienced entrepreneur Avigdor Willenz, CEO David Dahan and VP R&D Ran Halutz (the son of former IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz) the company in Tel Aviv and in San Jose, California. Habana Labs employing over 120 people worldwide.

It is led by top technologists and entrepreneurs that built multiple successful semiconductor companies and is backed by premier venture capitalists.

Avigdor Willenz is Habana’s chairman and lead investor and is the founder of chipmaker Galileo, which was sold to Marvell in 2000 for $2.7 billion.

In January 2015, Avigdor Willenz sold other Israel-based microelectronics company, Annapurna Labs, to for its Amazon Web Services division, reputedly for $350–370 million.

CEO David Dahan is former COO at DSP Group and COO at Prime Sense. Ran Halutz former HW Development at Apple and group manager at PrimeSense.

Other key people in the company include Shlomo Reikin, who came to the company from Mellanox, Oded Gabbay, a Linux expert former Red Hat and AMD and Galit Freifeld, vice president of human resources who joined the company last December after a career at Apple and Intel.

Only two years and the value of Habana Labs is skyrocketing. Israeli Media said some speak to the value of close to one billion dollars, but according to more cautious estimates, the value of its last round was several hundred million dollars.


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