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SK Telecom unveils faster, cheaper, power-saving AI chip for data center operations
SK Telecom Co. will pursue expansion in the global artificial intelligence (AI) market with its semiconductor for data center operations, dubbed SAPEON X220.
It was the first AI chip developed by the mobile carrier SK Telecom and also the country's first AI chip for data centers.
The global AI chip market is set to grow to 50 trillion won by 2024.
SK Telecom's new AI chip is 1.5 times faster in deep learning processing speeds than graphic processing units (GPU) used by many companies in running AI-based data centers.
The SAPEON X220's power consumption is about 80 percent of a conventional GPU and costs at around half the price.
The chip, which will be manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., will be supplied by SK Telecom to the South Korean government for its new data analysis service before the end of this year.
The chips will also be used by digital equipment maker Cast.era, a joint venture between SK Telecom and the U.S.-based Sinclair Broadcast Group, to run cloud servers.
The carrier added that it aims to use the chips next year for its own AI services, such as its AI assistant NUGU, and that it is closely working with its affiliate and memory chip giant SK hynix Inc. in memory-related technology.
SK Telecom will also pursue AI as a Service (AIaaS) business to expand its presence in the AI chip sector.
The South Korean government hopes local companies would be able to develop up to 50 AI chips by 2030.