Intel Acquires NetSpeed To Accelerate Specialized Chip Design

Intel has acquired a startup founded by a former employee that will help the company accelerate design of specialized chips for the Internet of Things and other applications.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company announced its acquisition of NetSpeed Systems Monday and said the startup's team will join Intel's Silicon Engineering Group, which is led by Jim Keller, an AMD chip design veteran and former Tesla executive who joined the company earlier this year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

NetSpeed is the third acquisition made by Intel this year. The company said in August that it had acquired artificial intelligence startup Vertex.Ai to boost its deep learning software tools. The month before, Intel revealed its plan to acquire eASIC Corp., a developer of specialty chips for low-power, high-performance computing.

[Related: Source: Intel 14nm CPU Shortage Tied To 10nm Delay]

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Founded in 2011 by former Intel engineer Sundari Mitra, NetSpeed provides interconnect fabric technology and design tools for the system-on-a-chip, a kind of integrated circuit also known as SoC that brings together all the components of a computer, including processor, memory and storage, onto a single chip. According to NetSpeed's website, applications of its technology include automotive, cloud computing, IoT, mobile, networking and storage.

Intel said it will use NetSpeed's tools to accelerate and improve the cost efficiency of SoC design, development and testing. This, the company added, will help "architects estimate and optimize SoC performance in advance of manufacturing through a system-level approach, user-driven automation and state-of-the-art algorithms."

As part of the deal, Mitra will serve as an Intel vice president and report to Keller.

“Intel is designing more products with more specialized features than ever before, which is incredibly exciting for Intel architects and for our customers," Keller said in a statement. "The challenge is synthesizing a broader set of IP blocks for optimal performance while reining in design time and cost. NetSpeed’s proven network-on-chip technology addresses this challenge, and we’re excited to now have their IP and expertise in-house."

The company said that while it will honor NetSpeed's existing customers, it will become an internal asset once their contracts have finished. Before acquiring the company, Intel was a customer and investor, having led NetSpeed's $10 million Series C round in 2016.