SANTA CLARA, Calif. — A new machine learning group at ARM will create accelerator cores, blocks for its CPU and GPU cores and software to tie it all together. Exactly what the group will deliver and when remains under covers.
Analysts suggest ARM could be as much as three years behind products from rivals such as Cadence, Ceva and Synopsys. ARM counters it’s still early days for emerging markets where software is rapidly evolving, and lots of AI tasks are already running on its exiting cores.
ARM declined to share the number of people or budget for the group, run by ARM fellow Jem Davies, best known for a decade working on ARM’s media blocks. Rene Haas, president of ARM’s intellectual property group, defined it simply as “a big team in hardware and software.”
“It’s clear we will do [machine learning] in CPUs, GPUs and special purpose cores, but we are not announcing anything yet,” Davies said in a brief one-on-one after a press event at the ARM Tech Con here.
Davies defines himself as “the special purpose computing guy” at ARM. Officially, he had been focused on computer vision until the new group was created a few weeks ago.
Both Davies and Haas made the case AI is still in its early stage and may be overhyped.
“Workloads change. [Neural nets are] just another workload. In various descriptions they are becoming the new black,” Davies said, pointing to a varied history of specialized hardware.
“Java byte codes came and went, MP3 decode at sub-milliwatt power had a lifetime. MPEG looked like it would be general purpose, but trade-offs drove it to being a specialized chip. It’s early days,” he said
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