By Michaël Tchagaspanian, EVP, sales and marketing, CEA-Leti
EETimes (May 20, 2019)
The market for AI processors is vast, but it can be organized into segments, and those segments can be targeted.
The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) will require diverse new microelectronic solutions to meet the evolving demands of large-scale data centers, “mid-size” systems like autonomous vehicles and robots, and a growing array of mobile devices, appliances, wearables, and as-yet un-envisioned applications. Of central importance is the need to achieve unprecedented efficiency and speed in the collection and analysis of data, while also managing power consumption and form factor.
In the hardware domain, this will require innovative thinking and new paradigms in sensors, processors, memory, interconnection, and packaging. Promising options are beginning to materialize from established and emerging research efforts, which we will review in the context of Edge AI and other broad trends. Going forward, interdisciplinary pre-industrial collaboration will be needed to create practical, manufacturable solutions from these efforts.
We can envision the coming AI marketplace by comparing applications based on computing capability and power consumption requirements (Figure 1). Wearables have the greatest power restrictions and (in relative terms) lowest computing needs. Data centers are at the opposite end, with smart appliances, augmented reality, robots, and autonomous vehicles in between.