Facebook is looking to design its own chips


Facebook is looking to design its own chips

Yolanda Curtis
April 19, 2018

Bear in mind that Facebook owns Oculus and is getting ready to launch Oculus Go, a standalone virtual reality headset that does not need to be tethered to a PC.

Facebook joining along with the likes of Apple and Google in manufacturing its own chips isn't too surprising.

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is reportedly looking at building out its own semiconductor division.


You'd think Zuckerberg and pals already have plenty on their plates, what WhatsApp, Instagram, plans to beam the internet to remote areas and a host of other projects, but the social network is looking to hire new talent in chip design, according to a job posting seeking people with skills in FPGA and ASIC. Such job listings indicate that Facebook's efforts are in its early stages. Custom-made chipsets could help update next generations of such smart devices, which would help the company with finer control over product development. Facebook is also trying to produce a number of smart speakers. There's also an opening for a system-on-a-chip architect for Oculus, firmware engineers, hardware designers, and a technical program manager.

A System-on-Chip (SOC) is a semiconductor containing several components built into one piece of silicon.

Facebook declined to comment on the job postings. They're typically used in mobile devices where their space and power-saving properties are more valuable. As the processor progress is slowing, some companies are turning to custom processors called ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) or to adaptable chips called FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays) that can be tuned to speed up specific tasks.


As for Facebook, these chips could be used to power hardware devices, AI software and data center servers. Their weakness is that they're locked down and may become redundant over time if software and workloads evolve.

According to the Bloomberg report, the job vacancy was also shared by Facebook AI researcher Yann LeCun on his Twitter handle on Wednesday.

The post is not clear about how Facebook is planning to use its new chipsets apart from mentioning artificial intelligence.


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