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Facebook Poaches Top Google Engineer To Help It Design Its Own Chips

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In an effort to enhance its ongoing development of AI-based chips. The tech giants Facebook— has hired one of Google’s lead chip developers—Shahriar Rabii. Previously Senior Director of Engineering at Google, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Shahriar Rabii, will work for the social media platform as the vice-president and head of silicon. Rabii previously worked at Google, where he helped lead the team in charge of building chips for the company’s devices, including the Pixel smartphone’s custom Visual Core chip, according to his LinkedIn profile. He’ll work under Andrew Bosworth, the company’s head of virtual reality and augmented reality.

According to his LinkedIn profile, which shows Rabii had joined Google in December, 2011 as Director of Engineering, where he “launched multiple silicon development programs.” His profile bio says that Rabii founded a Consumer Silicon team known as ‘gChips’ within Google and later the hardware group’s Technology Engineering team. Later in 2014, Rabii was promoted as Senior Director of Engineering where he “headed and scaled silicon engineering, product/program management, production and Technology Engineering.”

Rabii Technology Engineering team was formed to execute on core technologies and innovate on hardware products including phones, laptops, Google Home, Nest, AR/VR, accessories and the core technologies included imaging, displays, wireless systems, sensors, audio, power systems, batteries. He released several products to mass production including Pixel Visual Core for ML and computational photography, Titan family of secure elements, VP9 and AV1 video transcoders and others.

Earlier this year, Facebook was said to be building a team to design its own semiconductors, adding to a trend among technology companies to supply themselves and lower their dependence on chipmakers such as Intel and Qualcomm. The Menlo Park, California-based company is planning to join other technology giants tackling the massive effort to develop chips. Since 2010, Apple Inc has been shipping its own custom main processors in iPads and iPhones, and has created an array of custom chips for controlling Bluetooth, taking pictures, and conducting machine learning tasks. By 2020, the iPhone maker hopes to start shipping Macs with its own main processors.

Facebook, through its Oculus virtual reality division and Building 8 hardware divisions, is working on several future devices. Earlier this year, the company launched the Oculus Go standalone virtual reality headset with a Qualcomm smartphone chip. Facebook is also working on its first branded hardware: a series of smart speakers with large touch screens that can also be used for video chats. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The company is working on a few consumer products that could potentially use AI chips too, such as a smart display. These devices were apparently set for a reveal at the network’s F8 conference in May, but we’re now expecting an October unveiling.

As part of its ongoing efforts to increase its presence in the hardware market. Creating a custom chips may also improve the company’s efforts in artificial intelligence. Facebook has been working to use AI to better understand the nature of content people post on social media, so that it can quickly take down hate speech, fake accounts and live videos of violence. But so far, even human moderators are having trouble judging content consistently.

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