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Samsung to expand artificial intelligence business with NPU unit

By Elizabeth Shim
Samsung to expand artificial intelligence business with NPU unit
Samsung is to exponentially grow its artificial intelligence unit, according to executives on Tuesday. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

June 18 (UPI) -- South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics said Tuesday it is open to a major merger, if needed, as it seeks to expand the neural processing unit for its artificial intelligence business.

Kang In-yup, president of System LSI Business at Samsung, told reporters the firm seeks to take the lead in the NPU sector, Yonhap news agency reported.

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NPU allows computers to perform AI-related functions much faster than predecessors by accelerating neural network processing.

"We will demonstrate innovative processes through differentiated technologies and cooperation with global organizations," Kang said.

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When asked whether Samsung is on par with Chinese company Huawei Technologies, which is under U.S. sanctions, Kang did not respond directly.

"We think we are at about the same level [of development] as global companies," Kang said.

The United States recently requested allies like South Korea to cut ties with Huawei, citing network security risks.

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Samsung also said Tuesday it will hire 2,000 people to grow its NPU division tenfold by 2030. Currently, the NPU unit includes 200 employees, Kang said.

Samsung first unveiled an integrated NPU on its Exynos 9830 in 2018. The NPU allows the processor to perform AI-related functions seven times faster than predecessors.

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Samsung executive Chang Duck-hyun said the market for neuromorphic chips could grow at an annual average rate of 52 percent by 2023.

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Neuromorphic chips are microprocessors, configured more like brains than traditional chips. They are designed to make computers smarter and can be applied to self-driving cars.

Samsung has been focusing on integrating AI into other devices, including smartphones.

The company recently denied rumors it would release the Galaxy Fold, the world's first foldable smartphone, in July, Korea Herald reported.

Some problems are being fixed ahead of a possible delayed release, according to the report.

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