Akida spiking neural processor could head to FDSOI

August 02, 2021 // By Peter Clarke
Akida spiking neural processor could head to FDSOI
Startup BrainChip Inc. has a road-map of larger and smaller SoC exemplars of its Akida spiking neural networking processing architecture and could go to fully-depleted silicon on insulator (FDSOI).

BrainChip is starting to deliver its Akida1000 system chip to customers although the company insists that is main business model is intellectual property licensing, similar to ARM'sThe Akida1000 contains 80 neural processors and is implemented in 28nm CMOS (see Brainchip's Akida is a fast learner) and Brainchip announced the start of volume production in April 2021. This was shortly after Louis DiNardo quietly left the position of CEO in March. Peter van der Made, the founder of Brainchip and previously CTO, has taken up the CEO role.

Anil Mankar, chief development officer, told eeNews Europe: "Chip production volume is just starting now. But you will see a lot of IP licensing going forward." He added: "We are process agnostic."

The near-term focus is supplying the Akida IP to 22nm although some customers may go back to 90nm process, Akida executives said.

Rob Telson, vice president of worldwide sales, said BrainChip is drawing up plans for smaller and larger versions of Akida under the names Akida500, Akida1500 and Akida2000. Some of these may well comply to a new generation of the Akida architecture – Akida 2.0 – due to arrive in 2022. It is thought Akida500 could be implemented in 22nm FDSOI manufacturing process, and serve as a demonstrator of the agnostic nature of the Akida architecture.

Mankar emphasizes that the Akida architecture can implement both conventional convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and spiking neural networks (SNNs) that allow for a broader range of data processing models and learnings. The human brain based on spiking signals passed between neurons. "Spikes are spatio-temporal. There's a lot of information to extract from spikes that we are not yet taking advantage of," said Mankar.

The scalability of the architecture is also important, he said. "Our IP can from 2 processing nodes to 128," said Mankar. If a licensee goes to 7nm CMOS then they can go to many nodes, he added.

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