ARM announces new architecture, promises a boost for AI

Billionaire Masayoshi Son chairman and CEO of SoftBank which acquired ARM for $32 billion

Now processor configurations would have a more or less even number of cores, ARM DynamIQ would pave the way for different combinations. So for example, when a smartphone user starts playing a video game with intensive graphics, the chip will fire up those larger CPUs, and then when they stop playing, will wind the bigger cores back down. The DynamIQ microarchitecture is claimed to be the most flexible and versatile yet as it goes beyond ARM's big.LITTLE (introduced in 2011) with the ability to mix different types of cores in the same cluster. ARM executives point to the fact that phones and other devices of the future will be much smarter and more complex than today's crop of personal electronics, which means they'll need vast processing power to tackle all of their artificial intelligence algorithms. The idea there was that a designer would pair a "big" processor that was powerful, but more power hungry, with a "little" CPU that was able to perform some tasks without sucking up a phone's battery life.

DynamIQ isn't just about big-picture improvements - individual CPU cores are now a lot more capable as well.

ARM is gearing up for artificial intelligence (AI) with is latest mobile processor design dubbed DynamIQ, expanding the scope of its big.LITTLE architecture.

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The interesting bit in regards to machine learning is that training usually happens in the datacenter (although one company, XNOR.ai, also maintains it will offer training on a device) while the inference, or execution, of the models happens on both the cloud and on specific device.

"We've gradually evolved how we design our high end processors over the years but this is a fairly major step change in the way we combine them", said John Ronco, a product marketing head at ARM.

Krewell sees the new design being relatively weak for the sensors and wearables that can act as endpoints in the internet of things, since many of those run on the Cortex-M architecture. ARM said Cortex-A processors designed with the new DynamIQ technology will be optimized to deliver up to a 50x boost in AI performance over the next 3-5 years relative to Cortex-A73-based systems today, and up to 10x faster response between CPU and accelerator hardware on the SoC. ARM envisions DynamIQ chips inside all kinds of connected devices, including cars and smartphones.

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