ARM has unveiled a new machine learning initiative codenamed Project Trillium, which includes processors and sensors for improving artificial intelligence operations in mobile devices at the edge of networks, rather than in data centers.
“Project Trillium is a whole new class of product with hardware and software,” said Jem Davies, vice president, fellow, and general manager of ARM’s Machine Learning Group. “We looked at GPUs (graphics processing units) and CPUs (central processing units), but it became clear that executing with the best efficiency required a ground-up design specific to machine learning.”
Project Trillium consists of three components: a new ML processor rolling out to device makers and partners in mid-2018, a new object detection processor launching at the end of the quarter, and a set of neural network software libraries available to developers today.
ARM isn't releasing full architectural details of the new ML and object detection chips, but it claims to have developed processors beyond the capabilities of current CPUs and GPUs. Built specifically to address machine learning workloads, the ML processor sports a new intelligent memory system the company says maintains processing performance without draining power. The object detection processor can process video feeds in real time at up to 60 frames per second, and detect objects in the frame as small as 50-60 pixels.
"We can do this processing in real time at HD resolution running at 60 frames per second," Davies added. "We're able to detect objects further away very easily within frames including the trajectory, which way they're facing, which way they're going, and select part of the body for gesture and pose recognition. This is a development on our first-gen object detection processor, which is already released in consumer devices like the Hive security camera."
The ML chip is targeting the mobile market, meaning smartphones, self-driving cars, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices at the edge.
ARM will provide the first designs to its partners in mid-2018, and the first chips could debut late this year or next year.