It was the time around 2 years ago, when a Chinese chip-designer expert named Micree zhan was reading seminal novel of science fiction, "The Three body problem" which was written by "Liu Cixin", while wrestling with how to create processor. He was the cofounder of the "Bitmain" where he already developed custom chips for the company that had made him into the globe's leading bitcoin miner, and allowing it to dominate the new hyper-competitive organisation of unearthing bitcoins. Recently he needed a chip that could launch Bitmain onto a new trajectory, one is deep learning that would help it master a world altering technology , a branch of artificial intelligence.
A practice he has kept up for nearabout a decade, while perforing his nightly meditation, it suddenly came to Zhan. It was late at night, and something inspired me "Sophon!" he recalls.
A sophon which is a fictional proton sized super computer from the book that he read before that is "The three body problem" that is sent by an alien civilization to halt the progress of scientific on earth. It is capable of causing strange phenomena such as inscribe flashing words on the retinas of scientists elite. The aliens utilize it to take over earth when their own planet was destroyed by the chaotic gravitational forces of its three suns.
The new product of Bitamin's " The Sophon", may or may not take over deep learning. whereas by giving it a name Zhan and his Bitmain cofounder , Jihan wu, have signaled to the world their intentions. The unit of Sophon will include Bitmain's first piece of silicon bespoke for revolutionary AI technology. If things go with plans, thousands of bitmain sophon units soon could be training neural networks in huge data centres around the globe.
Michale Bedford Taylor, says that Bitmain could pull it off, a professor at the university of washington who had studied the bitcoin mining industry and its specialized chips.
Taylor said these chips , called application specific integrated circuits, or ASICs, that are designed to perform a single fucntion extremely efffienct could create the next wave of distributed computing. He says, this will invigorate the field of hardware. We are about to see the emergence of all kinds of ASICs clouds and the the hardware of bitcoin community has demonstrated that under the right conditions this can happen quickly as a grassroots effort.
China's shadowy colossus
In the deep learning arms race, to grasp how a beijing stratup is poised to challenge the google, Nvidia and AMD, it's essential to understand pivotal role of Bitmain in the $70 billion bitcoin economy. Incorporated in Hong Kong as Bitmain Technologies Ltd, Bitmain's controlling shareholder is a trust registered in the Cayman islands.
Micree Zhan explaining the importance of the word Sophon.
The organization is a marvel of vertical integration. The design of Bitmain the silicon that goes into its bitcoin mining rigs, assembles the machines then sells them to their customers around the world. Finally manages to several world's highest mining pools- agglomeration of processing power so huge that they greatly iprove the odds of successfully mining bitcoin block.
It's mining pool, Antpool and BTC.com, account for around 29% of the processing power on the global bitcoin network.
Hash reate is a critical because bitcoin is in the midst of a messu civil war. Dictating Bitcoin's future , controlling chunks of hash rate gives miners with public vote on the bewildering array of technical proposals. The crux of technical debate: How to incline the no. of transaction of bitcoin network can handle at any given time. Recently split of bitcoin in to two coins such as bitcoin and bitcoin-cash illustrated one way to do this.
Blockchain- the process of bitcoin mining of checking and adding the new transactions to bitcoin's immutable ledger. To find a new block, miners must compete with each other to be the first. In return for performing this task, that requires massive processing power and incurs hefty electricity costs, miners are rewarded with a certain no. of bitcoins for each block they add to the blockchain.At the current, 12.5 bitcoin per block and a new block found roughly every single 10 minutes. Currently, the price of bitcoin around $4400 and that will arise upto $50,000 for grabs every 10 minutes or $7.2 million a day.