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Nervana Systems

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Company typeSubsidiary of Intel
IndustryArtificial intelligence
HeadquartersSan Diego, California, U.S. and Palo Alto, California, U.S.
Number of employees
48 (2016) Edit this on Wikidata
Websitenervanasys.com Edit this on Wikidata

Nervana Systems was an artificial intelligence software company based in San Diego, California, and Palo Alto, California.[1] The company provided a full-stack software-as-a-service platform called Nervana Cloud that enabled businesses to develop custom deep learning software.[2] On August 9, 2016, it was acquired by Intel, for an estimated $408 million.[3][4]

Deep learning framework[edit]

The company's (now discontinued) open source deep learning framework is called neon.[5] Neon – which the company said would outperform rival frameworks such as Caffe, Theano, Torch, and TensorFlow[5] – would achieve 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.[6]

Nervana Cloud[edit]

Nervana Cloud,[7] announced in February 2016, is based on Neon, and ran on Nvidia Titan X GPUs, but Nervana was also developing a custom application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) called the Nervana Engine that was optimized for deep learning and that Nervana said would perform 10x better than Nvidia Maxwell architecture GPUs. The Nervana Engine was expected to 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.[8]


Nervana was founded in 2014 by CEO Naveen Rao, CTO Amir Khosrowshahi (Dara Khosrowshahi's cousin[9]), and VP Algorithms Arjun Bansal.[10] Nervana has raised $28 million in funding.[1] 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.[11] It was estimated to have only 48 employees when it was acquired by Intel in 2016.[3] In January 2020, Intel shut down the development of Nervana in favor of its acquisition of Habana Labs.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Nervana Systems Puts Deep Learning AI in the Cloud". IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  2. ^ "Nervana Systems Brings Deep Learning to the Masses". Fortune. 2016-02-29. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  3. ^ a b Ina Fried (August 9, 2016). "Intel is paying more than $400 million to buy deep-learning startup Nervana Systems". Vox. Retrieved August 22, 2023.
  4. ^ Jordan Novet (August 9, 2016). "Intel acquires deep learning startup Nervana for more than $350 million". Venture Beat.
  5. ^ a b "Nervana open-sources its deep-learning software, said it would outperform Facebook, Nvidia tools". VentureBeat. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  6. ^ ""Not so fast, FFT": Winograd - Nervana". Nervana. 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  7. ^ "Nervana's cloud platform makes deep learning more widely available". Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  8. ^ Patterson, Steven Max (31 May 2016). "Startup Nervana joins Google in building hardware tailored for neural networks". Network World. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  9. ^ Hackett, Robert (November 17, 2017). "Uber's CEO Comes From What May Be the World's Most Techie Family". Fortune.
  10. ^ "Deep Learning at Scale: Q&A with Naveen Rao, Nervana Systems". re-work.co. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  11. ^ "Deep learning startup Nervana raises $20.5M". VentureBeat. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  12. ^ "Nervana Nevermore: Intel Shifts Focus to Habana Labs, Cancels NNP-T, NNP-I - ExtremeTech". www.extremetech.com. Retrieved 2020-03-30.