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Apple Wants to Add Machine Learning Chips to Smartphone SoCs

Accepted submission by takyon at 2017-05-27 18:55:23
Hardware []

Apple is working on a processor devoted specifically to AI-related tasks, according to a person familiar with the matter. The chip, known internally as the Apple Neural Engine, would improve the way the company's devices handle tasks that would otherwise require human intelligence -- such as facial recognition and speech recognition, said the person, who requested anonymity discussing a product that hasn't been made public. Apple declined to comment.

[...] Apple devices currently handle complex artificial intelligence processes with two different chips: the main processor and the graphics chip. The new chip would let Apple offload those tasks onto a dedicated module designed specifically for demanding artificial intelligence processing, allowing Apple to improve battery performance.

Should Apple bring the chip out of testing and development, it would follow other semiconductor makers that have already introduced dedicated AI chips. Qualcomm Inc.'s latest Snapdragon chip for smartphones has a module for handling artificial intelligence tasks, while Google announced its first chip, called [] the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), in 2016.

Google will supposedly put mini TPUs into smartphones [] in the coming years.

Previously: Google's New TPUs are Now Much Faster -- will be Made Available to Researchers []

Original Submission