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e/acc founder launches chipmaking startup Extropic AI

Beff Jezos, the founder of e/acc movement launched his AI startup focusing on making new-age chips for AI. The company is called Extropic and the founders claim that this new chip will unlock exponential efficiency for generative AI.

What going on here?

Extropic AI is building analog-thermal chips for AI.

What does that mean?

Guillaume Verdon and Trevor McCourt, the founders of Extropic chatted with YC’s president Garry Tan, about what this new chip does. But it’s still filled with words from physics. So, I tried to break it down based on that video, Extropic’s Litepaper and a sprinkle of my own tech understanding.

Training machine learning models include creating random sequences all the time. But, creating and storing those random sequences of numbers is inefficient with digital circuits.

Extropic's approach taps into the 'thermal noise' of electrons for a direct source of randomness. Since electronics already speak analog, this makes things way more efficient for storage as well.

Extropic is building hardware—analog stochastic (random) chips and software to make this work for machine learning.

Take the explanation with a pinch of salt, or maybe electrons.

Why should I care?

You know how everyone's been saying AI progress is going to slam into a wall because chips can't keep getting smaller? Well, Extropic might just be the workaround we need. Extropic claims that their analog approach could squeeze a whole lot more performance and efficiency out of the hardware we already have. If this works... it means AI progress could keep accelerating way longer than we expected.

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