Facebook is just crazy enough to make its own processors

Job listings for a chip design team have surfaced online.

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David Lumb
April 18th, 2018
In this article: chip, facebook, gadgetry, gadgets, gear, processor
PA Wire/PA Images
PA Wire/PA Images

Facebook is forming a team to build its own semiconductors, according to job listings and sources that spoke to Bloomberg. The social media company would be joining other tech titans that have recently invested in building their own chips, from Google poaching an Apple processor designer to reports of Amazon making custom hardware to improve Alexa-equipped devices. And, reportedly, Apple.

According to one Facebook job listing, the company is looking to bring on a manager to create an "end-to-end SoC/ASIC, firmware and driver development organization." (SoC, or system-on-a-chip, is a processor typically designed for use in mobile devices; ASIC, or application-specific integrated circuit, is a chip designed for a particular purpose.) That role could oversee a team building chips for hardware, AI software or servers, Bloomberg noted. Facebook AI researcher Yann LeCun tweeted about a seemingly different role creating chips for AI, and pointed to another job listing.

By building its own processors, Facebook could be looking to gain some edge in its hardware, whether in the recently-delayed smart speaker it's been cooking up or the next Oculus headset after the just-released Go. But without knowing more, it's hard to say where the social media company wants to deploy the chips it designs in-house. When reached, Facebook declined to comment.

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