Ex-Intel Chief Architect Explores Data Center Deals for AI Startup in India

Intel’s former chief architect Raja Koduri is in talks with Hiranandani-backed data center operator Yotta for a deal for his generative artificial intelligence startup, which he said will have a big presence in India.

His yet-to-be-named firm would either partner or acquire Yotta, which has data centers in the cities of Mumbai and Noida, said Koduri, whose aim is to challenge Nvidia‘s grip on the digital movie and video game markets.

The company is likely to be launched by the end of the year and will provide AI tools to creators including game designers and film industry workers, the Indian-American executive said in an interview to Reuters.

“These days if you breath you’re competing with Nvidia because they have entered every space, everything, so you have no option but to compete against,” he said on the sidelines of a conference in Bengaluru, dubbed India’s Silicon Valley for its tech firms and startups, on Wednesday.

Koduri, who has worked on nearly two dozen generations of computer graphics chip, plans to build local data centers to ease the access to massive computing power needed for generative AI tools. 

Generative AI refers to technology such as ChatGPT that can use prompts to whip up haikus, essays and images.

The data center plan, however, will face challenges from unstable power, shortage of skilled labor and the lack of clear policy from state and central governments.

The southern state of Karnataka and Telangana have been “very supportive”, he said, adding that subsidies on electricity will be crucial as data centers are power guzzlers.

Koduri did not disclose how many people his firm would employ, but said “a ton” would be hired from the southern cities of Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

He is also joining the board of AI chip startup Tenstorrent, led by veteran chip architect Jim Keller, who led the design of Tesla’s self-driving chip in 2016.

Tenstorrent uses open-source technology RISC-V to build its chips.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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