South Korean startup company Rebellions Inc has officially launched its very own artificial intelligence (AI) chip ATOM in an effort to compete with the AI-powering hardware of global tech giants.
The new chip technology manufactured by Samsung Electronics Co. is designed to run computer visions and chatbot AI applications. According to Rebellion co-founder and chief executive Park Sunghyun, ATOM consumes roughly 20% of the power of an A100 chip, the popularly used chip from Nvidia, when it comes to doing specific tasks.
The South Korean government has invested more than $800 million over the next five years into research and development as it plans to lift the market share of Korean AI chips by 80% come 2030. The country is pushing mainly for its AI chips to penetrate the market, putting out a notice this February for two data centers that will allow domestic chipmakers to bid, according to a Ministry of Science and ICT official.
Korean Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade senior researcher Kim Yang-Paeng said it might be difficult for ATOM to compete against international AI chip manufacturers, but not impossible. "It’s hard to catch up to Nvidia, which is so far ahead in general-purpose AI chips... But it's not set in stone because AI chips can carry out different functions and there aren't set boundaries or metrics," he explained.
According to Gartner analyst Alan Priestley, startups like Rebellion will have to build momentum. “Government incentives such as what’s happening in Korea could well affect the market share within Korea,” he added.
In hopes of converting Nvidia customers to use its AI chips Rebellions Inc plans to participate in an upcoming consortium with Korean telecom KT Corp.
As of December, U.S. chip designer Nvidia makes up an estimated 86% of the computing power of the world’s largest cloud services. The company is also known for designing the A100, the most popular chip for AI workloads.