Thanks For The Memories!


“I want to maximize the MAC count in my AI/ML accelerator block because the TOPs rating is what sells, but I need to cut back on memory to save cost,” said no successful chip designer, ever. Emphasis on “successful” in the above quote. It’s not a purely hypothetical quotation. We’ve heard it many times. Chip architects — or their marketing teams — try to squeeze as much brag-... » read more

Is Transformer Fever Fading?


The hottest, buzziest thing bursts onto the scene and captures the attention of the business press and even the general public. Scads of articles and videos are published about The Hot Thing. And then, in the blink of an eye, the world’s attention shifts to the Next New Thing! Are we talking about the latest pop song that leads the Spotify streaming charts? Perhaps a new fashion trend that... » read more

BYO NPU Benchmarks


In our last blog post, we highlighted the ways that NPU vendors can shade the truth about performance on benchmark networks such that comparing common performance scores such as “Resnet50 Inferences / Second” can be a futile exercise. But there is a straight-forward, low-investment method for an IP evaluator to short-circuit all the vendor shenanigans and get a solid apples-to-apples result... » read more

Does Your NPU Vendor Cheat On Benchmarks?


It is common industry practice for companies seeking to purchase semiconductor IP to begin the search by sending prospective vendors a list of questions, typically called an RFI (Request for Information) or simply a Vendor Spreadsheet. These spreadsheets contain a wide gamut of requested information ranging from background on the vendor’s financial status, leadership team, IP design practices... » read more

Your AI Chip Doesn’t Need An Expensive Insurance Policy


Imagine you are an architect designing a new SoC for an application that needs substantial machine learning inferencing horsepower. The team in marketing has given you a list of ML workloads and performance specs that you need to hit. The in-house designed NPU accelerator works well for these known workloads – things like MobileNet v2 and Resnet50. The accelerator speeds up 95+% of the comput... » read more

Compiler-Driven Performance Boosts For GPNPUs


The GNU C Compiler – GCC – was first released in 1987. 36 years ago. Several version streams are still actively being developed and enhanced, with GCC13 being the most advanced, and a GCC v10.5 released in early July this year. You might think that with 36 years of refinement by thousands of contributors that penultimate performance has been achieved. All that could be discovered has bee... » read more

A Bridge From Mars To Venus


In a now-famous 1992 pop psychology book titled "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus," author John Gray posited that most relationship troubles in couples stem from fundamental differences in socialization patterns between men and women. The analogy that the two partners came from different planets was used to describe how two people could perceive issues in completely different and sometim... » read more

(Vision) Transformers: Rise Of The Chimera


It’s 2023 and transformers are having a moment. No, I’m not talking about the latest installment of the Transformers movie franchise, "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts"; I’m talking about the deep learning model architecture class, transformers, that is fueling anticipation, excitement, fear, and investment in AI. Transformers are not so new in the world of AI anymore; they were first ... » read more

Nightmare Fuel: The Hazards Of ML Hardware Accelerators


A major design challenge facing numerous silicon design teams in 2023 is building the right amount of machine learning (ML) performance capability into today’s silicon tape out in anticipation of what the state of the art (SOTA) ML inference models will look like in 2026 and beyond when that silicon will be used in devices in volume production. Given the continuing rapid rate of change in mac... » read more

AI Benchmarks Are Broken


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is shaping up to be one of the most revolutionary technologies of our time. By now you’ve probably heard that AI’s impact will transform entire industries, from healthcare to finance to entertainment, delivering us richer products, streamlined experiences, and augment human productivity, creativity, and leisure. Even non-technologists are getting a glimpse of... » read more

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