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Akida NSoC hits market: First commercial AI chip to perform neuromorphic computing using Spiking Neural Network Architecture

Wafer Scale Engine AI chip
2 min read

BrainChip makes a major push in the AI-laden chip market by unveiling Akida Neuromorphic System on Chip (NSoC) that implements an advanced neural network architecture called Spiking Neural Network (SNNs). The Akida NSoC is considered to be the first commercial AI chip that can perform Neuromorphic computation, which holds significance in accelerating AI processes. Neuromorphic computation is inspired from the operations of neurons in human biology.

Spiking Neural Networks (SNNs) is a 3rd generation Neural Network architecture that is promising for effectively processing edge applications. Edge computing finds its application in the latest technological advancements like Autonomous vehicle systems, Drones, Machine vision, among others that requires significantly complex backend to deal with huge data and perform heavy lifting tasks. SNNs are proven to be more powerful when compared to traditional Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) since they replace the computation-heavy algorithms like backpropagation and use the biologically inspired neuron operations. The SNNs use feedforward mechanism for training through a reinforcement style of learning.

Features of Akida NSoC

  • Designed to be used as a stand-alone processor and accelerator managing both the logic tasks and interface with other working parts.
  • The chip includes sensor interface for pixel-based imaging, Lidar, audio, dynamic vision, and analogous signals.
  • Includes a high speed data interface
  • Embedded data-to-spike converters for converting the row data into spikes for training SNNs.
  • The chip uses CMOS logic for lower power consumption.
  • Scalable architecture to enable users to perform complex neural network training and interfacing.
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Both the advances – Neuromorphic computation and SNNs are seeing a rise in business use cases but with a challenge of scarce hardware platform that can harness the capabilities of SNN architecture. As such, the release of Akida NSoC is narrowing the gap between scientific research in AI acceleration and commercial reality. The industry was long missing the AI implementation for edge and this might just be the beginning of the road to more hardware that brings AI on Edge. To push the niche, BrainChip is collaborating with major global manufacturers to drive early adoption of the Akida NSoC.

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