Bernard Murphy (SemiWiki) reflects on a discussion with Kurt Shuler, VP Marketing at Arteris IP, on customer trends in design for advanced ML accelerators, why these look quite different from traditional processor architectures and the implication for design particularly around the NoC interconnect in this SemiWiki blog:
Disturbances in the AI Force
January 3rd, 2019 - By Bernard Murphy
In the normal evolution of specialized hardware IP functions, initial implementations start in academic research or R&D in big semiconductor companies, motivating new ventures specializing in functions of that type, who then either build critical mass to make it as a chip or IP supplier (such as Mobileye - initially) or get sucked into a larger chip or IP supplier (such as Intel or ARM or Synopsys). That was where hardware function ultimately settled, and many still do.
But recently the gravitational pull of mega-companies has distorted this normally straightforward evolution. In cloud services this list includes Amazon, Microsoft, Baidu and others. In smartphones you have Samsung, Huawei and Apple - yep, Huawei is ahead of Apple in smartphone shipments and is gunning to be #1. These companies, neither semiconductor nor IP, are big enough to do whatever they want to grab market share. What they do to further their goals in competition with the other giants can have a major impact on the evolution path for IP suppliers.
Arteris IP is closely involved with many of these companies, from Cambricon to Huawei/HiSilicon to Baidu to emerging companies like Lynxi, offering their network on chip (NoC) solutions with the AI package allowing for architecture tuning to the special needs of high-end NN designs. Check out more here; http://www.arteris.com/flexnoc-ai-package