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New Chip Could Bring AI to Phones and More

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 06:28AM

Neural networks and artificial intelligence are both things that have seemed to largely exist in science fiction for a long time, but recently advanced computer systems have been making them a reality. For most people though, these systems are something remote that data has to be sent to for processing. Thanks to researchers at MIT, we may actually be able to fit them into our pockets.

Neural networks are systems meant to emulate the operation of our brains with simple processing units. As GPUs are comprised of a great many cores, these are often used to create neural networks, and at 200 cores, even mobile GPUs can be used. The chip the MIT researchers created though is 10 times more efficiency than a mobile GPU, so it could allow mobile devices to run AI algorithms without help from the Cloud. To achieve this efficiency, the researchers designed the chip to reduce the number of times the cores access memory, which takes time and uses energy, and a circuit compresses the data before sending it. The cores also have the ability to communicate with their neighbors, so they can directly share data as needed. Finally there is special-purpose circuitry for allocating tasks to the cores, and this circuitry can be reprogrammed depending on what kind of network is desired.

Besides the possibility of phones being able to perform tasks locally and privately, this chip could also advance the Internet of Things by bringing neural networks to a variety of places. This would allow important decisions to be made automatically and without having to call back to a server, and would of course be helpful in battery-powered autonomous robots.

Source: MIT

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