Intel Neural Compute Stick 2 unveiled at Intel AI Devcon

Donna Miller
November 16, 2018

The Neural Compute Stick 2 debuted at Intel's inaugural artificial intelligence developer conference in Beijing.

To use its full name, the "Neural Compute Stick 2" could be a great help for developers of future connected products for the home thanks to supporting the development of AI algorithms and computer vision systems locally without needing the Cloud (or the internet at all). The Intel NCS 2 is powered by the latest generation of Intel VPU - the Intel Movidius Myriad X VPU.

Intel's NCS devices are created to simplify the roll-out of AI technologies in edge devices. The only requirements are that their system is running a Linux-based OS and that it has a USB 3.0 port to plug in the NCS2.

The NCS is designed primarily (but not solely) for computer vision and related applications. The company was less keen on sharing the Neural Compute Stick 2's specs-we know it offers up to 8x the performance of its predecessor, uses the new VPU, and works with the Intel Distribution of the OpenVINO toolkit.

So far they have developed a variety of useful applications including Clean Water AI which uses machine vision and a microscope to detect harmful bacteria in water, BlueScan AI which scans a patient's skin for signs of melanoma and ASL Classification which can translate American Sign Language into text in real-time.

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Intel also said the first Neural Compute Stick "fueled a community of tens of thousands of developers, has been featured in more than 700 developer videos, and has been utilized in dozens of research papers". It also says it has built new optimizations for the OpenVINO toolkit, which will allow developers to write their code once and deploy it across many architectures.

On Wednesday, Intel announced it's rolling out the second generation of NCSat its first AI developers conference in Beijing.

The upcoming Cascade Lake scalable Xeon processor that will feature its Optane DC persistent memory and a set of new AI features called Intel DL Boost.

Intel acquired Movidius in 2016 to bolster its artificial intelligence efforts. Intel says its Nervana NNP family leverages compute characteristics specific for AI deep learning, such as dense matrix multiplies and custom interconnects for parallelism.

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