Intel reveals 3rd-gen 'Cooper Lake' Xeon Scalable processors

Chipmaker shows continued interest in AI workloads with bfloat16-based CPU

Intel has introduced the third-generation of its Xeon scalable processor, a range of chips designed for data centres and artificial intelligence workloads.

It's the industry's first mainstream server processor with built-in bfloat16 (brain floating point) support, according to Intel. The built-in bfloat16 is a compact numeric format which boosts the AI performance of its CPU, which makes AI inference and training more widely deployable on general-purpose CPUs.

It follows on from the 2nd-gen Xeon Scalable Processor, which was announced in February, designed to take on AMD's Epyc Rome family of data centre chips which focus on the 5G market.

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The 3rd-gen, however, focuses on AI-based applications such as image classification, recommendation engines, speech recognition and language modelling.

By 2021, 75% of commercial enterprise apps will use AI, according to IDC. Along with analytics, its opening opportunities across a broad range of industries, including finance, healthcare, industrial, telecom and transportation.

"The ability to rapidly deploy AI and data analytics is essential for today's businesses," said Lisa Spelman, Intel's corporate VP and GM of Xeon and Memory Group.

"We remain committed to enhancing built-in AI acceleration and software optimisations within the processor that powers the world's data centre and edge solutions, as well as delivering an unmatched silicon foundation to unleash insight from data."

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The 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable processor, which were codenamed 'Cooper Lake", is designed for deep learning, virtual machine density, in-memory database, mission-critical applications and analytics-intensive workloads.

In addition to the Xeon processor, which is available from today, the chipmaker is also launching Intel Optane persistent memory 200 series, with general OEM systems expected to be available later in the year. The Intel Optane persistent memory 200 series can provide up to 4.5 terabits of memory per socket to manage data-intensive workloads, according to Intel. 

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