Intel’s project, which took about two years to complete (and possibly a few more years of research), has been cancelled, meaning the company will no longer be focusing its efforts on creating a CPU-VPU hybrid, at least for now.
Intel, codenamed Thunder Bay, has been working on a system-on-chip (SoC) combining CPU cores from the Xeon processor with VPU cores from Movidius, having acquired the company in 2016 for vision processor designs.
However, a patch for Linux discovered by Foronix (opens in a new tab) now reads “Remove specific Thunder Bay code as product has been canceled and has no end customers or users.”
Intel Thunder Bay canceled
While details about Thunder Bay have been scarce, it is likely that the SoC may have found its way into IoT applications as smart technology becomes more ubiquitous.
In addition to the SoC processor aspects, VPUs would be well-suited to machine vision applications, being low-power microprocessors and AI accelerators designed to offload traditional CPUs.
It’s unclear why Intel pulled the plug on Thunder Bay, although it’s likely the company is still facing economic pressures that led it to lay off at least 500 employees in the San Francisco area earlier this year (through releases.for information (opens in a new tab)).
One Reddit (opens in a new tab) a user wrote, “I know people who worked on it and thought it was going to be a big product line, too bad.”
Another asked, “What will Intel cancel next!?” Earlier this year, Intel killed its RISC-V development environment while many of its products, including Xeon, have experienced long delays recently.
Despite a few signs of suffering, the company remains hopeful for the year ahead as it navigates what CEO Pat Gelsinger described as a series of “short-term” challenges. It’s unclear if this means it will return to discontinued designs when possible, but at least for now the CPU-VPU hybrid is over.