May 30, 2017 // By Peter Clarke, eeNews
Consumer giant Apple Inc. is designing a processor IC specifically to perform artificial intelligence tasks, according to a Bloomberg report that references an unnamed source.
The chip is known as the Apple Neural Engine and Apple engineers are said to be "racing" in an attempt to catch up other companies moving forward aggressively on cores and chips to perform the very large number of multiplications used in neural networks.
Google has developed and taken to silicon two Tensor Processor Units (TPUs) in the last couple of years (see Google's second TPU processor comes out ).
Neural networks which require millions of weightings to be multiplied against input data and subsequent layers of neurons have conventionally been run in software on uniprocessors. However, the enormous benefit they can take from parallelism has seen them being deployed on GPUs and more-or-less application specific DSPs.
The kind of applications that can benefit from this include voice and face recognition and classification and inference of varied types of data where dedicated hardware can provide a couple of orders of magnitude improvement over conventional processors.
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