Software 2.0

The rise in deep learning forms of AI is pressing the need for a new kind of computer to replace the Von Neumann machines expressed in processors from Intel and AMD

But that AI revolution in hardware, as big as it is, may be just the tip of the iceberg. So says Rodrigo Liang, chief executive of startup SambaNova Systems, which has gotten over $450 million in venture capital funding to build that new kind of computer.

“We are at the cusp of a fairly large shift in the computer industry,” Liang told ZDNet this week in an interview by phone. “It’s been driven by AI, but at a macro level, over the next twenty to thirty years, the change is going to be bigger than AI and machine learning.”

The last thirty years in computing, said Liang, has been “focused on instructions and operations, in terms of what you optimize for.”

“The next five, to ten, to twenty years, large amounts of data and how it flows through a system is really what’s going to drive performance.”

It’s not just a novel computer chip, said Liang, rather, “we are focused on the complete system,” he told ZDNet. “To really provide a fundamental shift in computing, you have to obviously provide a new piece of silicon at the core, but you have to build the entire system, to integrate across several layers of hardware and software.”

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