Not content with taking a large chunk of the white box hardware market, it would seem Facebook is now moving into chip design. Whilst the social network has decided not to comment at this time about the project, there is a job posting asking for candidates that can:
“Build and manage an end-to-end SoC/ASIC, firmware and driver development organization, including all aspects of front-end and back-end standard cell ASIC development“.
This candidate will need to be a leader, implying a large team of people working on the project. Other large tech companies like Google and Apple already manufacture their own silicon chips. Apple use their own chips within many of their major product lines and Google’s efforts have gone into artificial intelligence. Judging by the job posting, it would seem that Facebook also have their sights on AI.
Clearly this would reduce the reliance they have on their current suppliers such as Intel and Qualcomm. Facebook’s MO so far has been to open source their hardware, initiating as they did the Open Compute Project. So it will be interesting to see what comes of their own semiconductors.
Remind me what a SoC and ASIC is…
A system on chip, or SoC, is a type of semiconductor that aggregates several discrete components in one piece of silicon. Typically you see these chips housed in mobile phones and other IOT-style mobile devices.
An Application-Specific Integrated Circuit, or ASIC, is an integrated circuit that is customised for a particular use. ASICs often encompass the CPU memory etc and are referred to as SoC.