BrainChip launches spiking neural network SoC: Page 2 of 2

September 10, 2018 //By Peter Clarke
BrainChip launches spiking neural network SoC
Neuromorphic computing company BrainChip Holdings Ltd. has launched its Akida Neuromorphic System-on-Chip (SoC), claiming it is the first company with a commercial dedicated hardware implementation of a spiking neural network architecture.

The annual market for AI chipsets will surpass US$65 billion in 2025, according to market research firm Tractica (Boulder, Colo.).

"Despite their best efforts, no other company, large or small, has managed to bring a neuromorphic computing chip to market in production volumes," said Lou DiNardo, BrainChip CEO, in a statement. "Akida, which is Greek for 'spike,' represents the first in a new breed of hardware solutions for AI. Artificial intelligence at the edge is going to be as significant and prolific as the microcontroller." DiNardo added: "We are collaborating with major global manufacturers in a multi-market strategy to drive early adoption of the Akida NSoC."

BrainChip is using the term NSoC to denote neuromorphic system-on-chip.

The company said that in comparison with leading convolutional neural network (CNN) accelerator ICs the NSoC is showing an "order of magnitude" performance gain in terms of images per second per watt when running industry standard benchmarks such as CIFAR-10 with comparable accuracy. The company did not say whether an order of magnitude meant a factor of two or of ten.

Spiking neural networks are inherently feed-forward dataflows, for both training and inference. Ingrained within the Akida neuron model are innovative training methodologies for supervised and unsupervised training. In the supervised mode, the initial layers of the network train themselves autonomously, while in the final fully-connected layers, labels can be applied, enabling these networks to function as classification networks. The Akida NSoC is designed to allow off-chip training in the Akida Development Environment, or on-chip training. An on-chip CPU is used to control the configuration of the Akida neuron fabric as well as off-chip communication of metadata.

The Akida Development Environment is available now for early access customers to begin the creation, training, and testing of spiking neural networks. The Akida NSoC is expected to begin sampling in 3Q19.

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