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Details on AI Chip Export Ban May Come Soon, US Official Says

Letters to Nvidia and AMD last month telling them to stop shipment of chips used for language processing and nuclear weapons research are likely precursors to new rules, official says


Chinese chipmaking companies are racing to match the levels of sophistication that companies such as Nvidia have developed.
Chinese chipmaking companies are racing to match the levels of sophistication that companies such as Nvidia have developed. These auto tech chips have not been affected by the recent ban on advanced chips for data centres. File photo: Reuters.

 

The Biden administration could provide more information soon on a possible new rule for exporting advanced computer chips to China that are used for artificial intelligence, a White House official said on Friday.

Tarun Chhabra, an official with the National Security Council who focuses on technology issues, said letters sent from the US Department of Commerce to Nvidia Corp and Advanced Micro Devices last month asking them to stop shipments of chips that can be used for applications like natural language processing and nuclear weapons research were likely precursors to further regulation.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Brookings Institution, he did not say what form that regulation might take.

“They tend to be followed by a public rule or regulation, laying out a rationale and the full approach,” Chabbra said of the letters. “I think we will be in a position to say more about that relatively soon.”

Reports earlier this month that the US Commerce is preparing curbs on exporting AI chips that could be released as soon as October.

The news on September 1 that the chip companies had received letters caused Nvidia’s stock to fall after the company said the letters could affect as much as $400 million in revenue in its current fiscal quarter.

American officials did not spell out how the new restrictions might be written.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said earlier this month that the letters spelled out curbs on chips with a combination of a chip’s performance and its ability to connect to other chips to move large amounts of data around a data centre quickly, criteria that affected only a small number of Nvidia’s products.

In his remarks on Friday, Chabbra confirmed that the restrictions affect only the most advanced chips and are “structured as a combination of computing power but also interconnect speed.”

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard

 

ALSO SEE:

US to Ban Export of Chips, Chipmaking Tools to China

 

US Orders Nvidia to Stop Sale of Advanced Chips to China

 

 

 

 

Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.

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