|Type||Subsidiary of Intel|
|Headquarters||San Diego, California, U.S. and Palo Alto, California, U.S.|
Number of employees
Nervana Systems is an artificial intelligence software company based in San Diego, California, and Palo Alto, California. The company provides a full-stack software-as-a-service platform called Nervana Cloud that enables businesses to develop custom deep learning software. On August 9, 2016, it was acquired by Intel, for an estimated $408 million.
The company's (now discontinued) open source deep learning framework is called neon. Neon – which the company says outperforms rival frameworks such as Caffe, Theano, Torch, and TensorFlow – achieves its performance advantage through assembler-level optimization, multi-GPU support, and use of an algorithm called Winograd for computing convolutions, which are common mathematical operations in the deep learning process.
Nervana Cloud, announced in February 2016, is based on Neon, and runs on Nvidia Titan X GPUs today, but Nervana is developing a custom application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) called the Nervana Engine that is optimized for deep learning and that Nervana says will perform 10x better than Nvidia Maxwell architecture GPUs. The Nervana Engine will achieve greater compute density by implementing only those design elements that are necessary to support deep learning algorithms and ignoring legacy elements specific to graphics processing.
Nervana was founded in 2014 by CEO Naveen Rao, CTO Amir Khosrowshahi (Dara Khosrowshahi's cousin), and VP Algorithms Arjun Bansal. Nervana has raised $28 million in funding. In June 2015, Nervana raised $20.5 million in series A funding led by Data Collective with participation from Allen & Company, AME Cloud Ventures, Playground Global, the CME Group, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Fuel Capital, Lux Capital, and Omidyar Network. It was estimated to have only 48 employees when it was acquired by Intel in 2016. In January 2020, Intel shut down the development of Nervana in favor of its acquisition of Habana Labs.