Sandra Rivera Reveals Strategy of Intel FPGA Company Altera

In a significant move within the semiconductor industry, Intel Corporation has launched Altera, its new standalone FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) company.
Intel’s Sandra RiveraThe announcement came during the FPGA Vision Webcast, where Chief Executive Officer Sandra Rivera and Chief Operating Officer Shannon Poulin outlined Altera’s strategy to seize leadership across a market opportunity exceeding $55 billion. They unveiled plans to broaden the company’s portfolio, including the introduction of the only FPGA with built-in AI capabilities, aiming to address mounting customer challenges in various sectors.

Sandra Rivera emphasized Altera’s commitment to reinvigorating the FPGA market by adopting a bold, agile, and customer-centric approach.

The expanded portfolio and roadmap presented by Altera are positioned to cater to the growing demand in FPGA markets across cloud, network, and edge computing domains. The company intends to enhance its Quartus Prime software while incorporating AI capabilities to address the rapidly expanding AI application segment.

Altera’s response to the rise of artificial intelligence includes offerings such as FPGA AI Suite and OpenVINO, which generate optimized intellectual property (IP) based on standard frameworks like TensorFlow and Pytorch. These solutions aim to address the complexities and opportunities presented by AI across various industries.

Key product announcements from Altera include:

Agilex 9, in volume production, offers data converters suitable for radar and military-aerospace applications.

Agilex 7 F-series and I-series devices, released to production, provide 2x better fabric performance per watt compared to competing FPGAs, catering to high-bandwidth compute applications.

Agilex 5, widely available, features FPGA fabric infused with AI, delivering best-in-class performance and 1.6x better performance per watt compared to competitors, targeting embedded and edge applications.

Agilex 3, slated for release soon, will offer a low-power line of FPGAs geared towards cloud, communications, and intelligent edge applications.

Altera’s strategic initiatives and product advancements mark a significant step forward in the FPGA market, aiming to provide flexible solutions to meet evolving market demands and intercept emerging standards across various sectors.

Sandra Rivera has underscored the burgeoning and potentially lucrative prospects offered by artificial intelligence (AI) for the company’s freshly established standalone programmable chip unit.

Sandra Rivera revealed that Intel intends to conduct a stock offering for Altera over the next two to three years, signaling the company’s commitment to its growth and development.

The programmable chips designed by Altera hold significant utility for AI applications and computing tasks that lie between purpose-built custom processors favored by cloud computing giants such as Amazon.com and the more general-purpose AI chips manufactured by Nvidia.

While the market estimate for programmable chips stood at approximately $8-$10 billion for 2023, Sandra Rivera noted the lack of comprehensive third-party data to gauge the full extent of the opportunity. She expressed her belief that the market potential for programmable chips could be larger than commonly perceived, citing their widespread usage across various stages of the AI workflow.

Intel’s current Agilex line of programmable chips is manufactured by Intel Foundry, the company’s contract manufacturing arm. Rivera declined to confirm whether Intel Foundry would produce the forthcoming Agilex 3 chips but indicated that the company expects to receive favorable treatment akin to other customers, potentially benefiting from discounted rates.

An Intel spokesperson clarified that contract manufacturing customers, including Intel business units, might receive preferential pricing based on anticipated volumes. Intel Foundry currently serves as a significant revenue source for the company, catering to the needs of various clients, including internal business units, Reuters news report said.