Arm China recently released the “two-wheel drive” strategy and new business brand “core power”, hoping to emphasize the CPU+XPU “two-wheel drive” strategy, relying on “core power” to develop The market provides high-performance, customizable self-architecture XPU IP products and services to meet more and more intelligent data stream processing needs.
The “two-wheel drive” strategy of CPU+XPU
Wu Xiongang, executive chairman and CEO of Arm Technology, said that the evolution of computing power is the core foundation of the information technology revolution. In the PC era, the evolution of CPU processing technology has increased computing power by nearly a hundred times; in the mobile Internet era, Arm CPU, GPU Coupled with the evolution of the process, from the first generation iPhone to the iPhone 12, the computing power has increased by 280 times. Such improvement needs to be increased tenfold or a hundredfold, because the future is an era of comprehensive digitalization.
Such increase in computing power also puts forward higher requirements for computing architecture. However, the evolution of computing power based on CPU architecture and process improvement has become increasingly slow, and the future is a digital, interconnected world where devices are interconnected with each other. , each device has the need to make autonomous decisions, generate data in real time, and process data in real time. Therefore, the era of comprehensive digitalization requires massive new computing, and the new computing architecture is a necessary basis for a hundredfold increase in computing power.
Amou Technology believes that in the face of the requirements of diverse computing power and multiple computing domains, the next-generation computing domain architecture – hyperdomain architecture (xDSA) is needed to meet the corresponding requirements and challenges, and by taking into account the method of integrating multiple domains Solve the fragmentation problem. To this end, Amou Technology officially released the “two-wheel drive” strategy: on the one hand, it continues to promote the localization and ecological development of the Arm CPU architecture; The innovative development of the independent architecture XPU cooperates with traditional computing IP to provide diversified, customized computing elements that meet the needs of China’s industry and market.
With the “turbine engine” installed, what does Arm Technology drive?
Amou Technology also launched a new business brand “Core Power”, aiming to build an open intelligent data flow fusion computing platform, empower China’s intelligent computing industry, and seize new opportunities in the multi-domain architecture computing era.
Wu Xiongang explained the meaning of the brand: “It looks a lot like a turbine engine, which is our desire to provide core power to the industry through technology. On the left is an A, which represents our heritage on the Arm CPU architecture. The X in the middle represents The XPU architecture provides better kinetic energy for the industry. A+X means that we hope to provide a complete solution. At the same time, there are many i elements on the right, representing innovation, intelligence, and infinite possibilities and infinite partners.”
“Core Power” includes Zhouyi NPU, Shanhai SPU, Linglong ISP and Linglong VPU and other self-developed XPU product series that have been released by Amou Technology. So far, it has achieved IP authorization for more than 90 local customers, and it is expected that in 2021, the shipment of chips based on “Core Power” XPU products will exceed 100 million.
In the new computing power era, meeting the multiple IP challenges of complex SoC design
Wu Xiongang said that in the process of IP development, with the clarification of technology and market application scenarios, the software and hardware have gradually become clarified, and many of these modules have gradually become IP, which is also the origin of CPU/VPU. But in the new generation of intelligent computing, many things have not been completely solidified, whether in NPU, ISP or many other new computing methods, many architectures are still evolving. The so-called “continuous evolution” mainly refers to the application of different scenarios, and each manufacturer has to adjust the traditional modules, which brings challenges in terms of efficiency.
The most prominent performance is that the core IP used in a SoC may come from multiple different suppliers. In this process, how to achieve interconnection and optimization between core modules is a big challenge, because different modules have different standards and different interfaces between different manufacturers and developers, which is very important for data handling. It is a big challenge, and it is also a big challenge to optimize the underlying software, middleware, and upper-layer applications.
The XPU concept of Arm’s independent architecture is to gradually customize and optimize the main scenarios of the main modules such as CPU, NPU, and VPU, and then re-integrate these modules to create a converged computing architecture platform. Application scenarios and different domains for better efficiency. At the same time, data handling is optimized between modules to improve overall performance.
The XPU based on the Super Domain Architecture (xDSA) is an open intelligent data stream fusion computing platform. The computing units that can process AI, video, image and other functions form different solutions to solve the processing efficiency problem of massive intelligent data streams and satisfy customers Diversified needs.
How to understand this “X” of XPU? After all, Intel has already proposed that XPU stands for heterogeneous computing.
Wu Xiongang said that the reason why many manufacturers use X is that it represents the concept of diversity, change and infinity. But for Amou Technology, on the basis of diversification, X also means a customizable, programmable, and scalable architecture for different data streams and different applications; secondly, X is accurate and precise for each scenario. Targeting and optimization. X has three meanings: one is a customizable and diversified structure, including multi-domain support; the other is an extended stack that supports diverse computing power; the third is more accurate optimization and performance improvement for each scenario.
Solve the problems of NPU ecological fragmentation and limited application scale
On July 15th, Amou Technology and more than 50 industry leading enterprises and institutions jointly initiated the establishment of the “Intelligent Computing Industry Technology Innovation Consortium” (ONIA), announcing the world’s first open source neural network processor instruction set architecture (NPU ISA) . This “China’s first, global open source” NPU ISA will gather the resources of the global industry chain, and through an open model, jointly build the ecology, share the results, and promote the NPU ecological construction. According to reports, ONIA includes representatives of China’s integrated circuit industry, academia, and research. It is expected that by the end of 2021, the number of member units will exceed 100.
What are the main industry problems that ONIA wants to solve? Why push the open source of the NPU instruction set architecture in the first place?
“In new computing, the computing architecture has become more and more diversified. From CPU to CPU+GPU as the protagonist, and now CPU and GPU are slowly giving up a lot of space to NPU as the protagonist,” Wu Xiongang said, “This The NPU at this stage is very similar to the original CPU. In the early 1990s, various manufacturers developed in a closed manner with each other. At that time, there were dozens of CPU standards. Large manufacturers built their own ecosystems and did a good job of vertical integration. Indirect mode to solve the problem. The evolution process of Arm is to deliver CPU IP to small and medium-sized manufacturers through a more open IP licensing method, and jointly build an ecosystem, which is a process of co-construction and sharing.”
He believes that NPU is facing the same situation today, and the entire ecology is relatively fragmented. Although the CPU has evolved from more than 20 companies in the past to today, although it has gone through decades, the innovation of the CPU instruction set or the overall CPU computing power is relatively lacking. In the future, more new computing power will be on the NPU. For some of Arm’s partners, with the iteration of products, the NPU team has grown stronger, and more and more scenarios and ecological algorithms need to be supported, but they may not have enough resources to support them.
At this key node, Arm Technology first saw the deterministic existence of demand, and it is also based on the law of industrial development. It hopes to integrate the needs of many partners and reduce development costs through a unified ecology. Through the sharing of the instruction set architecture and tool chain, manufacturers can exert their core IP capabilities, and at the same time, they can also promote the docking of software and hardware and the landing of application ecology as soon as possible.
“We have established a new ecosystem in China with Arm’s global architecture standards, which have been supported by the industry and continue to be actively promoted. The NPU ISA is a good example of giving back to the global industry. This is an open source initiative initiated by the Chinese industry. After the project and standards are unified, the NPU ISA will be open to the global industry, allowing more smart chips to achieve ecological unification in applications faster, speeding up research and development, and reducing research and development obstacles.” Wu Xiongang emphasized, “For chip partners, , which can reduce development costs and time; for upstream application or algorithm manufacturers, it will also reduce the time to adapt to hardware. I hope that this beneficial matter for all parties can be jointly built and shared, and actively promote the development of the industry.”
It is understood that Amou Technology will also support the XPU ecological construction and promote the innovative development of intelligent computing ecology through various means such as technical and capital support. It will provide ONIA members with free authorization of “Zhouyi” NPU; it will also cooperate with Anchuang accelerator to incubate 10 start-up companies based on open source architecture and XPU.
write at the end
Anmou Technology, which began to operate independently in 2018, can be said to have excellent technical genes and ecological foundation from the beginning. Facing domestic demand, Amou Technology has carried out local research and development in key areas such as AI, CPU, information security, ISP and VPU, and has achieved rapid product launch.
How to better connect the past and the future? It may be a major challenge facing Arm Technology at this stage. Wu Xiongang believes that “core power” is the embodiment of the strategic positioning of inheriting the past and connecting the future: inheritance is the inheritance of the Arm CPU ecology; initiation is the mission of opening a new era of independent architecture XPU. We hope to provide high-quality core computing XPU products for China’s semiconductor industry, and make common progress with the industry through ecological co-construction and sharing, so as to promote the development of China’s intelligent computing industry in the era of multi-domain architecture computing.