FPGA Design Tradeoffs Getting Tougher

FPGAs are getting larger, more complex, and significantly harder to verify and debug. In the past, FPGAs were considered a relatively quick and simple way to get to market before committing to the cost and time of developing an ASIC. But today, both FPGAs and eFPGAs are being used in the most demanding applications, including cloud computing, AI, machine learning, and deep learning. In some ... » read more

Autonomous Vehicles Are Reshaping The Tech World

The effort to build cars that can drive themselves is reshaping the automotive industry and its supply chain, impacting everything from who defines safety to how to ensure quality and reliability. Automakers, which hardly knew the names of their silicon suppliers a couple of years ago, are now banding together in small groups to share the costs and solve technical challenges that are well be... » read more

eFPGA Macros Deliver Higher Speeds from Less Area/Resources

We work with a lot of customers designing eFPGA into their SoCs.  Most of them have “random logic” RTL, but some customers have large numbers of complex, frequently used blocks. We have found in many cases that we can help the customer achieve higher throughput AND use less silicon area with Soft Macros. Let’s look at an example: 64x64 Multiply-Accumulate (MAC), below: If yo... » read more

AI Inference Memory System Tradeoffs

When companies describe their AI inference chip they typically give TOPS but don’t talk about their memory system, which is equally important. What is TOPS? It means Trillions or Tera Operations per Second. It is primarily a measure of the maximum achievable throughput but not a measure of actual throughput. Most operations are MACs (multiply/accumulates), so TOPS = (number of MAC units) x... » read more

Where Should Auto Sensor Data Be Processed?

Fully autonomous vehicles are coming, but not as quickly as the initial hype would suggest because there is a long list of technological issues that still need to be resolved. One of the basic problems that still needs to be solved is how to process the tremendous amount of data coming from the variety of sensors in the vehicle, including cameras, radar, LiDAR and sonar. That data is the dig... » read more

Inferencing Efficiency

Geoff Tate, CEO of Flex Logix, talks with Semiconductor Engineering about how to measure efficiency in inferencing chips, how to achieve the most throughput for the lowest cost, and what the benchmarks really show. » read more

Edge Complexity To Grow For 5G

Edge computing is becoming as critical to the success of 5G as millimeter-wave technology will be to the success of the edge. In fact, it increasingly looks as if neither will succeed without the other. 5G networks won’t be able to meet 3GPP’s 4-millisecond-latency rule without some layer to deliver the data, run the applications and broker the complexities of multi-tier Internet apps ac... » read more

TOPS, Memory, Throughput And Inference Efficiency

Dozens of companies have or are developing IP and chips for Neural Network Inference. Almost every AI company gives TOPS but little other information. What is TOPS? It means Trillions or Tera Operations per Second. It is primarily a measure of the maximum achievable throughput but not a measure of actual throughput. Most operations are MACs (multiply/accumulates), so TOPS = (number of MAC... » read more

Data Confusion At The Edge

Disparities in pre-processing of data at the edge, coupled with a total lack of standardization, are raising questions about how that data will be prioritized and managed in AI and machine learning systems. Initially, the idea was that 5G would connect edge data to the cloud, where massive server farms would infer patterns from that data and send it back to the edge devices. But there is far... » read more

Do Large Batches Always Improve Neural Network Throughput?

Common benchmarks like ResNet-50 generally have much higher throughput with large batch sizes than with batch size =1. For example, the Nvidia Tesla T4 has 4x the throughput at batch=32 than when it is processing in batch=1 mode. Of course, larger batch sizes have a tradeoff: latency increases which may be undesirable in real-time applications. Why do larger batches increase throughput... » read more

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