Peter Clarke, EETimes
7/8/2013 09:25 AM EDT
Richard Grisenthwaite, lead processor architect with ARM, has said the company has thought about creating an inexact processor -- a processor that curtails precision to save power. The technique has echoes of fuzzy logic and probabilistic processing and uses reduced accuracy of multiplication and addition but manages the probability of errors building up.
Grisenthwaite, vice president of technology and an ARM Fellow, has been responsible for the ARM architecture for the last ten years or so. He is associated with the ARMv7 instruction set architecture and the Cortex range of processor cores, with the move to 64-bit computing with ARMv8, and the "big-little" strategy now being deployed in both ARMv7 and ARMv8. Big-little pairs a performance-optimized processor core (big) with a power-optimized core (little) and the software load is allowed to transition between them as part of a dynamic voltage and frequency scaling regime.
I met Grisenthwaite recently at an ARM-organized analysts' conference and so took the opportunity to ask him about inexact computing and the possibility of its deployment by ARM.
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