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Doug Burger, Microsoft distinguished engineer. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Microsoft has developed a new system for deep learning, dubbed Project Brainwave, that embeds deep neural network technology into the company’s high-tech programmable computer chips to accelerate one of the key processes for artificial intelligence.

The company announced the initiative this afternoon as an extension of its existing work in field programmable gate arrays, or FPGAs, data center processors that can be reprogrammed on the fly to best serve whatever computing task is at hand.

“We designed the system for real-time AI, which means the system processes requests as fast as it receives them, with ultra-low latency,” said Doug Burger, Microsoft distinguished engineer, in a post describing the technical details of the system. “Real-time AI is becoming increasingly important as cloud infrastructures process live data streams, whether they be search queries, videos, sensor streams, or interactions with users.”

This is part of a broader effort by Microsoft to advance the state of the art in artificial intelligence, and bring those new approaches to market.

Microsoft competes against Amazon, Apple, IBM, Google and other major technology players in artificial intelligence and the cloud. The Redmond company last year formed a new 5,000-person Artificial Intelligence & Research Group as a fourth engineering division inside the company, along with the Office, Windows and cloud groups.

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