Rao’s team focuses on deep learning, a subset of machine learning and artificial intelligence, and works to develop the hardware and software ingredients needed to enable its scalable deployment. Intel uses deep learning to accelerate complex, data-intensive processes, such as image recognition and natural language processing, to improve the performance of Intel® Xeon® and Intel® Xeon Phi™ processors in various business segments, including autonomous driving and personalized medicine.
Trained as both a computer architect and neuroscientist, Rao joined Intel in 2016 with the acquisition of Nervana Systems. As chief executive officer and co-founder of Nervana, he led the company to become a recognized leader in the deep learning field. Before founding Nervana in 2014, Rao was a neuromorphic machines researcher at Qualcomm Inc., where he focused on neural computation and learning in artificial systems. Rao’s earlier career included engineering roles at Kealia Inc., CALY Networks and Sun Microsystems Inc.
Rao earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University, then spent a decade as a computer architect before going on to earn a Ph.D. in computational neuroscience from Brown University. He has published multiple papers in the area of neural computation in biological systems. Rao has also been granted patents in video compression techniques, with additional patents pending in deep learning hardware and low-precision techniques and in neuromorphic computation.