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Mining for Profitability - Horizen (formerly ZenCash) Thanks Early GPU Miners

Mining for Profitability - Horizen (formerly ZenCash) Thanks Early GPU Miners
Thank you for inviting Horizen to the GPU mining AMA!
ZEN had a great run of GPU mining that lasted well over a year, and brought lots of value to the early Zclassic miners. It is mined using Equihash protocol, and there have been ASIC miners available for the algorithm since about June of 2018. GPU mining is not really profitable for Horizen at this point in time.
We’ve got a lot of miners in the Horizen community, and many GPU miners also buy ASIC miners. Happy to talk about algorithm changes, security, and any other aspect of mining in the questions below. There are also links to the Horizen website, blog post, etc. below.
So, if I’m not here to ask you to mine, hold, and love ZEN, what can I offer? Notes on some of the lessons I’ve learned about maximizing mining profitability. An update on Horizen - there is life after moving on from GPU mining. As well as answering your questions during the next 7 days.
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Mining for Profitability - Horizen (formerly ZenCash) Thanks Early GPU Miners

Author: Rolf Versluis - co-founder of Horizen

In GPU mining, just like in many of the activities involved with Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, there is both a cycle and a progression. The Bitcoin price cycle is fairly steady, and by creating a personal handbook of actions to take during the cycle, GPU miners can maximize their profitability.
Maximizing profitability isn't the only aspect of GPU mining that is important, of course, but it is helpful to be able to invest in new hardware, and be able to have enough time to spend on building and maintaining the GPU miners. If it was a constant process that also involved losing money, then it wouldn't be as much fun.

Technology Progression

For a given mining algorithm, there is definitely a technology progression. We can look back on the technology that was used to mine Bitcoin and see how it first started off as Central Processing Unit (CPU) mining, then it moved to Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) mining, then Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), and then Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC).
Throughout this evolution we have witnessed a variety of unsavory business practices that unfortunately still happen on occasion, like ASIC Miner manufacturers taking pre-orders 6 months in advance, GPU manufacturers creating commercial cards for large farms that are difficult for retail customers to secure and ASIC Miner manufacturers mining on gear for months before making it available for sale.
When a new crypto-currency is created, in many cases a new mining algorithm is created also. This is important, because if an existing algorithm was used, the coin would be open to a 51% attack from day one, and may not even be able to build a valid blockchain.
Because there's such a focus on profitable software, developers for GPU mining applications are usually able to write a mining application fairly rapidly, then iterate it to the limit of current GPU technology. If it looks like a promising new cryptocurrency, FPGA stream developers and ASIC Hardware Developers start working on their designs at the same time.
The people who create the hashing algorithms run by the miners are usually not very familiar with the design capabilities of Hardware manufacturers. Building application-specific semiconductors is an industry that's almost 60 years old now, and FPGA’s have been around for almost 35 years. This is an industry that has very experienced engineers using advanced design and modeling tools.
Promising cryptocurrencies are usually ones that are deploying new technology, or going after a big market, and who have at least a team of talented software developers. In the best case, the project has a full-stack business team involving development, project management, systems administration, marketing, sales, and leadership. This is the type of project that attracts early investment from the market, which will drive the price of the coin up significantly in the first year.
For any cryptocurrency that's a worthwhile investment of time, money, and electricity for the hashing, there will be a ASIC miners developed for it. Instead of fighting this technology progression, GPU miners may be better off recognizing it as inevitable, and taking advantage of the cryptocurrency cycle to maximize GPU mining profitability instead.

Cryptocurrency Price Cycle

For quality crypto projects, in addition to the one-way technology progression of CPU -> GPU -> FPGA -> ASIC, there is an upward price progression. More importantly, there is a cryptocurrency price cycle that oscillates around an overall upgrade price progression. Plotted against time, a cycle with an upward progressions looks like a sine wave with an ever increasing average value, which is what we see so far with the Bitcoin price.

Cryptocurrency price cycle and progression for miners
This means mining promising new cryptocurrencies with GPU miners, holding them as the price rises, and being ready to sell a significant portion in the first year. Just about every cryptocurrency is going to have a sharp price rise at some point, whether through institutional investor interest or by being the target of a pump-and-dump operation. It’s especially likely in the first year, while the supply is low and there is not much trading volume or liquidity on exchanges.
Miners need to operate in the world of government money, as well as cryptocurrency. The people who run mining businesses at some point have to start selling their mining proceeds to pay the bills, and to buy new equipment as the existing equipment becomes obsolete. Working to maximize profitability means more than just mining new cryptocurrencies, it also means learning when to sell and how to manage money.

Managing Cash for Miners

The worst thing that can happen to a business is to run out of cash. When that happens, the business usually shuts down and goes into bankruptcy. Sometimes an investor comes in and picks up the pieces, but at the point the former owners become employees.
There are two sides to managing cash - one is earning it, the other is spending it, and the cryptocurrency price cycle can tell the GPU miner when it is the best time to do certain things. A market top and bottom is easy to recognize in hindsight, and harder to see when in the middle of it. Even if a miner is able to recognize the tops and bottoms, it is difficult to act when there is so much hype and positivity at the top of the cycle, and so much gloom and doom at the bottom.
A decent rule of thumb for the last few cycles appears to be that at the top and bottom of the cycle BTC is 10x as expensive compared to USD as the last cycle. Newer crypto projects tend to have bigger price swings than Bitcoin, and during the rising of the pricing cycle there is the possibility that an altcoin will have a rise to 100x its starting price.
Taking profits from selling altcoins during the rise is important, but so is maintaining a reserve. In order to catch a 100x move, it may be worth the risk to put some of the altcoin on an exchange and set a very high limit order. For the larger cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin it is important to set trailing sell stops on the way up, and to not buy back in for at least a month if a sell stop gets triggered. Being able to read price charts, see support and resistance areas for price, and knowing how to set sell orders are an important part of mining profitability.

Actions to Take During the Cycle

As the cycle starts to rise from the bottom, this is a good time to buy mining hardware - it will be inexpensive. Also to mine and buy altcoins, which are usually the first to see a price rise, and will have larger price increases than Bitcoin.
On the rise of the cycle, this is a good time to see which altcoins are doing well from a project fundamentals standpoint, and which ones look like they are undergoing accumulation from investors.
Halfway through the rise of the cycle is the time to start selling altcoins for the larger project cryptos like Bitcoin. Miners will miss some of the profit at the top of the cycle, but will not run out of cash by doing this. This is also the time to stop buying mining hardware. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to pick up that same hardware used for a fraction of the price at the next bottom.
As the price nears the top of the cycle, sell enough Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to meet the following projected costs:
  • Mining electricity costs for the next 12 months
  • Planned investment into new miners for the next cycle
  • Additional funds needed for things like supporting a family or buying a Lambo
  • Taxes on all the capital gains from the sale of cryptocurrencies
It may be worth selling 70-90% of crypto holdings, maintaining a reserve in case there is second upward move caused by government bankruptcies. But selling a large part of the crypto is helpful to maintaining profitability and having enough cash reserves to make it through the bottom part of the next cycle.
As the cycle has peaked and starts to decline, this is a good time to start investing in mining facilities and other infrastructure, brush up on trading skills, count your winnings, and take some vacation.
At the bottom of the cycle, it is time to start buying both used and new mining equipment. The bottom can be hard to recognize.
If you can continue to mine all the way through bottom part of the cryptocurrency pricing cycle, paying with the funds sold near the top, you will have a profitable and enjoyable cryptocurrency mining business. Any cryptocurrency you are able to hold onto will benefit from the price progression in the next higher cycle phase.

An Update on Horizen - formerly ZenCash

The team at Horizen recognizes the important part that GPU miners played in the early success of Zclassic and ZenCash, and there is always a welcoming attitude to any of ZEN miners, past and present. About 1 year after ZenCash launched, ASIC miners became available for the Equihash algorithm. Looking at a chart of mining difficulty over time shows when it was time for GPU miners to move to mining other cryptocurrencies.

Horizen Historical Block Difficulty Graph
Looking at the hashrate chart, it is straightforward to see that ASIC miners were deployed starting June 2018. It appears that there was a jump in mining hashrate in October of 2017. This may have been larger GPU farms switching over to mine Horizen, FPGA’s on the network, or early version of Equihash ASIC miners that were kept private.
The team understands the importance of the cryptocurrency price cycle as it affects the funds from the Horizen treasury and the investments that can be made. 20% of each block mined is sent to the Horizen non-profit foundation for use to improve the project. Just like miners have to manage money, the team has to decide whether to spend funds when the price is high or convert it to another form in preparation for the bottom part of the cycle.
During the rise and upper part of the last price cycle Horizen was working hard to maximize the value of the project through many different ways, including spending on research and development, project management, marketing, business development with exchanges and merchants, and working to create adoption in all the countries of the world.
During the lower half of the cycle Horizen has reduced the team to the essentials, and worked to build a base of users, relationships with investors, exchanges, and merchants, and continue to develop the higher priority software projects. Lower priority software development, going to trade shows, and paying for business partnerships like exchanges and applications have all been completely stopped.
Miners are still a very important part of the Horizen ecosystem, earning 60% of the block reward. 20% goes to node operators, with 20% to the foundation. In the summer of 2018 the consensus algorithm was modified slightly to make it much more difficult for any group of miners to perform a 51% attack on Horizen. This has so far proven effective.
The team is strong, we provide monthly updates on a YouTube live stream on the first Wednesday of each month where all questions asked during the stream are addressed, and our marketing team works to develop awareness of Horizen worldwide. New wallet software was released recently, and it is the foundation application for people to use and manage their ZEN going forward.
Horizen is a Proof of Work cryptocurrency, and there is no plan to change that by the current development team. If there is a security or centralization concern, there may be change to the algorithm, but that appears unlikely at this time, as the hidden chain mining penalty looks like it is effective in stopping 51% attacks.
During 2019 and 2020 the Horizen team plans to release many new software updates:
  • Sidechains modification to main software
  • Sidechain Software Development Kit
  • Governance and Treasury application running on a sidechain
  • Node tracking and payments running on a sidechain
  • Conversion from blockchain to a Proof of Work BlockDAG using Equihash mining algorithm
After these updates are working well, the team will work to transition Horizen over to a governance model where major decisions and the allocation of treasury funds are done through a form of democratic voting. At this point all the software developed by Horizen is expected to be open source.
When the governance is transitioned, the project should be as decentralized as possible. The goal of decentralization is to enable resilience and preventing the capture of the project by regulators, government, criminal organizations, large corporations, or a small group of individuals.
Everyone involved with Horizen can be proud of what we have accomplished together so far. Miners who were there for the early mining and growth of the project played a large part in securing the network, evangelizing to new community members, and helping to create liquidity on new exchanges. Miners are still a very important part of the project and community. Together we can look forward to achieving many new goals in the future.

Here are some links to find out more about Horizen.
Horizen Website – https://horizen.global
Horizen Blog – https://blog.horizen.global
Horizen Reddit - https://www.reddit.com/Horizen/
Horizen Discord – https://discord.gg/SuaMBTb
Horizen Github – https://github.com/ZencashOfficial
Horizen Forum – https://forum.horizen.global/
Horizen Twitter – https://twitter.com/horizenglobal
Horizen Telegram – https://t.me/horizencommunity
Horizen on Bitcointalk – https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2047435.0
Horizen YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/c/Horizen/
Buy or Sell Horizen
Horizen on CoinMarketCap – https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/zencash/

About the Author:

Rolf Versluis is Co-Founder and Executive Advisor of the privacy oriented cryptocurrency Horizen. He also operates multiple private cryptocurrency mining facilities with hundreds of operational systems, and has a blog and YouTube channel on crypto mining called Block Operations.
Rolf applies his engineering background as well as management and leadership experience from running a 60 person IT company in Atlanta and as a US Navy nuclear submarine officer operating out of Hawaii to help grow and improve the businesses in which he is involved.
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Thank you again for the Ask Me Anything - please do. I'll be checking the post and answering questions actively from 28 Feb to 6 Mar 2019 - Rolf
submitted by Blockops to gpumining [link] [comments]

Cryptocurrency Mining History : Journey to PoC

Cryptocurrency just like any other technological development has given birth to many side industries and trends like ICO, white paper writing, and mining etc… just the cryptocurrency itself rises, falls and changes to adapt real life conditions, so does its side industries and trends. Today we are going to be focusing on mining. How it has risen, fell and adapted through the journey of cryptocurrency till date.
Without going into details crypto mining is the process by which new blocks are validated and added to the blockchain. It first took to main stream in January 2009 when the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto launched the bitcoin white paper within which he/she/they proposed the first mining consensus mechanism called proof of work (Pow).
The PoW consensus mechanism required that one should spend a certain amount of computational power to solve a cryptographic problem (nounce) in other to have the have the right to pack/verify the next block on the blockchain. In this mechanism, the more computational power one possesses the more rights they have over the packing of the next block. The quest for faster hardware has seen significant changes in the types of hard ware dominating the PoW mining community.
Back in 2009 when bitcoin first started a normal pc and its processing power worked just fine. In fact a pc with an i7 Intel processor could mine up to 50btc per day but back then it almost nothing since btc was only some few cents. When the difficulty of the network became significantly high, simple computer processing units could not match the competitiveness and so miners settled for something more powerful, the high end graphic processors (GPU). This is when the era of rigs began It was in 2010. People would combine GPUs together in mining rigs on a mother board usually in order of 6 per rig some miners operated farms containing many of these rigs. Of course with greater power came greater network difficulty and so the search for faster hard ware let to implementation of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) in June 2012. A further search for faster, less consuming and cheaper hard ware let us to where we are today. In the year 2013, Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC) miners were introduced. One ASIC miner processes 1500H/s which is 100 times processing power of CPU and GPU. But all this speed and efficiency achievements brought about another problem one which touches the core of cryptocurrency itself. The idea of decentralization was gradually fading away as wealthy and big companies are the once who could afford and build the miners therefore centralizing mining around the rich, there was a called for ASIC resistant consensus mechanism.
A movement for ASIC resistant PoW algorithms began the idea is to make ASIC mining impossible or at least make it such that using ASIC doesn’t give a miner any additional advantage as to using CPU . In 2013 the MONERO the famous privacy coin proposed CryptoNight an ASIC resistant PoW consensus at least that is how they intended it to be. But things have proven much more difficult in practice than they had anticipated as ASIC producers keep matching up to every barrier put in place the PoW designers at a rate faster than it takes to build these barriers. MONERO for example has to fork every now and then in other to keep the CryptoNight ASIC resistant a trick which is still not working as reported by their CEO “We [also] saw that this was very unsustainable. … It takes a lot to keep [hard forking] again and again for one. For two, it may decentralize mining but it centralizes in another area. It centralizes on the developers because now there’s a lot of trust in developers to keep hard forking.” Another PoW ASIC resistance algorithm is the RamdonX and there are many others but could quickly imagine that the barriers to ASIC mining in these ASIC resistance algorithm would eventually be broken by the ASIC miners and so a total shift from PoW mining to other consensus mechanisms which are ASIC resistance from core were proposed some of which are in use today.
Entered the Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. PoS was first introduced in 2013 by the PeerCoin team. Here, a validator’s right to mine is proportionate to his/heit economic value in the network simple put the more amounts of coins you have the more mining rights you get. Apart from PeerCoin, NEO and LISK also use POS and soon to follow is EThereum. There are different variations to PoS including but not limited to delegated proof of stake DPoS, masternode proof of stake MPoS each of which seek to improve on something in the POS. This is a very good ASIC resistance consensus mechanism but it still doesn’t solves the centralization problem as the rich always have the power to more coins and have more mining rights plus it is also expensive to start. And then we have gotten many other proposals to combat this among which are Proof of Weight (PoW) and Proof of Capacity (PoC). We take more interest in PoC it is the latest and gives the best solution to all our mining challenges consensus as of now.
Proof of Capacity was first was described 2013 in the Proofs of Space paper by Dziembowski, Faust, Kolmogorov and Pietrzak and it is now being used in Burst. The main factor that separates all the mining mechanisms is the resource used. These resources which miners spend in other to have mining rights is a measure of ensuring that one has expense a none-trivial amount of effort in making a statement. The resource being spent in PoC is disk space. This is less expensive since many people already have some unused space lying around and space is a cheap resource in the field of tech. it has no discrimination over topography… it really solves lots of centralized problems present in all most other consensus. If the future is now then one could say the future of crypto mining is PoC.
submitted by seekchain to u/seekchain [link] [comments]

Why I see Virtcoin as a $200 coin when really considering ASIC resistance

First of all, Vertcoin does indeed have a tremendous community, and this is not to be understated. However, this is only a fraction of the value position of this coin. I just want to expand on the ASIC resistance thing a bit. As an electrical engineer who has actually designed ASIC's, I do have some background on this. What I can tell you is that this term "ASIC Resistant" is that it is a little bit misleading. In theory, any algorithm can be turned into an ASIC. An ASIC or Application Specific Integrated Circuit is a digital or analog or mixed analog digital circuit that has been cast into Sea of Gates, Semi-Custom, or Full Custom ASIC technology. The cheapest route is Sea of Gates. If one didn't want to do a Sea of Gates ASIC, they could implement an algorithm in a FPGA, or Field Programmable Gate Array. Altera and Xilinx are the dominant players here. In the early days of Bitcoin, there were many FPGA miners, this was a very common way to mine Bitcoin.
Overall, It takes somewhere between USD $50,000 to $1,000,000 to make an ASIC. It's an expensive process. There is a tremendous amount of engineering, where the circuit is designed in System Verilog, Verilog or VHDL, and very extensive testbenches to make sure that the when the chip is made it works the first time. Engineers prototype ASICs in FPGA's, and the development boards for ASIC emulation can cost $20k or more just in themselves. Then the design goes to a foundry where the chip is made, and that will be expensive, $50k to $500k. So there has to be motivation to make an ASIC, such as high volume chip sales. For Sea of Gates technology, a rule of thumb is that there is typically a break even point when a company sells 1,000 to 2,000 chips a year that has been made into an ASIC. That is because Sea of Gates is about a $100k process.
The ASIC Resistance of Vertcoin is not technology related, i.e. the algorithm that is currently being used could be made into an ASIC. What makes Vertcoin ASIC resistance is the commitment of the team to change the algorithm if someone does make an ASIC to mine Vertcoin. This is what gives Vertcoin it's value position. I really appreciate that! This is a de-facto way to limit the power of miners, in one simple swipe.
How wants to deal with this Bitcoin forking situation anymore? At this point, with the upcoming fork, it seems more and more unnecessary. I see Bitcoin as a storage of value layer, and other coins such as VTC and LTC as transaction layer coins.
To me what gives VTC value is the intention of the community AND the consequent action of it.
submitted by TeslaCrytpo to vertcoin [link] [comments]

A cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital asset

Blockchain

Main article: Blockchain
The validity of each cryptocurrency's coins is provided by a blockchain. A blockchain is a continuously growing list of records), called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography.[23][26] Each block typically contains a hash pointer as a link to a previous block,[26] a timestamp and transaction data.[27] By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data. It is "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way".[28] For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority.
Blockchains are secure by design and are an example of a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault tolerance. Decentralized consensus has therefore been achieved with a blockchain.[29] Blockchains solve the double-spendingproblem without the need of a trusted authority or central server), assuming no 51% attack (that has worked against several cryptocurrencies).

Timestamping

Cryptocurrencies use various timestamping schemes to "prove" the validity of transactions added to the blockchain ledger without the need for a trusted third party.
The first timestamping scheme invented was the proof-of-work scheme. The most widely used proof-of-work schemes are based on SHA-256 and scrypt.[16]
Some other hashing algorithms that are used for proof-of-work include CryptoNight, Blake), SHA-3, and X11#X11).
The proof-of-stake is a method of securing a cryptocurrency network and achieving distributed consensus through requesting users to show ownership of a certain amount of currency. It is different from proof-of-work systems that run difficult hashing algorithms to validate electronic transactions. The scheme is largely dependent on the coin, and there's currently no standard form of it. Some cryptocurrencies use a combined proof-of-work/proof-of-stake scheme.[16]

Mining

📷Hashcoin mine
In cryptocurrency networks, mining is a validation of transactions. For this effort, successful miners obtain new cryptocurrency as a reward. The reward decreases transaction fees by creating a complementary incentive to contribute to the processing power of the network. The rate of generating hashes, which validate any transaction, has been increased by the use of specialized machines such as FPGAs and ASICs running complex hashing algorithms like SHA-256 and Scrypt.[30] This arms race for cheaper-yet-efficient machines has been on since the day the first cryptocurrency, bitcoin, was introduced in 2009.[30] With more people venturing into the world of virtual currency, generating hashes for this validation has become far more complex over the years, with miners having to invest large sums of money on employing multiple high performance ASICs. Thus the value of the currency obtained for finding a hash often does not justify the amount of money spent on setting up the machines, the cooling facilities to overcome the enormous amount of heat they produce, and the electricity required to run them.[30][31]
Some miners pool resources, sharing their processing power over a network to split the reward equally, according to the amount of work they contributed to the probability of finding a block). A "share" is awarded to members of the mining pool who present a valid partial proof-of-work.
As of February 2018, the Chinese Government halted trading of virtual currency, banned initial coin offerings and shut down mining. Some Chinese miners have since relocated to Canada.[32] One company is operating data centers for mining operations at Canadian oil and gas field sites, due to low gas prices.[33] In June 2018, Hydro Quebec proposed to the provincial government to allocate 500 MW to crypto companies for mining.[34] According to a February 2018 report from Fortune,[35] Iceland has become a haven for cryptocurrency miners in part because of its cheap electricity. Prices are contained because nearly all of the country's energy comes from renewable sources, prompting more mining companies to consider opening operations in Iceland.[citation needed]
In March 2018, a town in Upstate New York put an 18-month moratorium on all cryptocurrency mining in an effort to preserve natural resources and the "character and direction" of the city.[36]

GPU price rise

An increase in cryptocurrency mining increased the demand of graphics cards (GPU) in 2017.[37] Popular favorites of cryptocurrency miners such as Nvidia's GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 graphics cards, as well as AMD's RX 570 and RX 580 GPUs, doubled or tripled in price – or were out of stock.[38] A GTX 1070 Ti which was released at a price of $450 sold for as much as $1100. Another popular card GTX 1060's 6 GB model was released at an MSRP of $250, sold for almost $500. RX 570 and RX 580 cards from AMD were out of stock for almost a year. Miners regularly buy up the entire stock of new GPU's as soon as they are available.[39]
Nvidia has asked retailers to do what they can when it comes to selling GPUs to gamers instead of miners. "Gamers come first for Nvidia," said Boris Böhles, PR manager for Nvidia in the German region.[40]

Wallets

📷An example paper printable bitcoin wallet consisting of one bitcoin address for receiving and the corresponding private key for spendingMain article: Cryptocurrency wallet
A cryptocurrency wallet stores the public and private "keys" or "addresses" which can be used to receive or spend the cryptocurrency. With the private key, it is possible to write in the public ledger, effectively spending the associated cryptocurrency. With the public key, it is possible for others to send currency to the wallet.

Anonymity

Bitcoin is pseudonymous rather than anonymous in that the cryptocurrency within a wallet is not tied to people, but rather to one or more specific keys (or "addresses").[41] Thereby, bitcoin owners are not identifiable, but all transactions are publicly available in the blockchain. Still, cryptocurrency exchanges are often required by law to collect the personal information of their users.
Additions such as Zerocoin, Zerocash and CryptoNote have been suggested, which would allow for additional anonymity and fungibility.[42][43]
submitted by TheResearcher012 to GreatLifePostsGoTeam [link] [comments]

Anyone bullish on XLNX?

There's a pretty interesting debate in the AI space right now on whether FPGAs or ASICs are the way to go for hardware-accelerated AI in production. To summarize, it's more about how to operationalize AI - how to use already trained models with millions of parameters to get real-time predictions, like in video analysis or complex time series models based on deep neural networks. Training those AI models still seems to favor GPUs for now.
Google seem to be betting big on ASICs with their TPU. On the other hand, Microsoft and Amazon seem to favor FPGAs. In fact Microsoft have recently partnered with Xilinx to add FPGA co-processors on half of their servers (they were previously only using Intel's Altera).
The FPGA is the more flexible piece of hardware but it is less efficient than an ASIC, and have been notoriously hard to program a