AI hardware (RISC-V AI Chips)

Thank you for tuning in to this audio only podcast presentation. This is week 94 of The Lindahl Letter publication. A new edition arrives every Friday. This week the topic under consideration for The Lindahl Letter is, “AI hardware (RISC-V AI Chips).”

I must have missed it when Samuel K. Moore covered this topic back on February 24, 2022 in an article titled, “RISC-V AI Chips Will Be Everywhere Esperanto Technology’s chip heralds new era in open-source architecture; Intel set to cash in,” [1]. I’m going to admit that I did fix the spelling on the word technology when I cut and pasted that title over to this Substack post. Fast forward just a couple of months and in April an article in Forbes talked about people actually sampling the 1,000 core hardware [2]. Within the broader context of things 1,000 cores is a lot of computing cores for a CPU chip. This computer for example is running an Intel i7 series chip and has 6 cores. You can see the difference in the number of cores is very large. 

You can pretty easily get to the website for Esperanto Technologies and it has some information on it. They clearly believe that RISC-V is the future of computing innovation. For those of you who might be chuckling that “RISC architecture is going to change everything” yes that line from the 1995 feature film Hackers certainly continues to resonate with people. The reduced instruction set computer architecture certainly has had a strong run. I’m pretty sure that the RISC-V design is about 12 years old (2010) and it really is an open standard instruction set architecture. 

You can read about at the Berkeley Architecture Research site here:  

Some of you may have already guessed that I was going to search Google Scholar for anything on this topic that might be interesting [3]. You can pretty quickly dig into the 18 results that came back for that search. Here are a sampling of those results:

Imran, H. A., Mujahid, U., Wazir, S., Latif, U., & Mehmood, K. (2020). Embedded development boards for edge-AI: A comprehensive report. arXiv preprint arXiv:2009.00803.

Reuther, A., Michaleas, P., Jones, M., Gadepally, V., Samsi, S., & Kepner, J. (2022). AI and ML Accelerator Survey and Trends. arXiv preprint arXiv:2210.04055.

Dokic, K., Mikolcevic, H., & Radisic, B. (2021). Inference speed comparison using convolutions in neural networks on various SoC hardware platforms using MicroPython. In RTA-CSIT (pp. 67-73).

Overall, I read this article in Interesting Engineering that talked about RISC-V having shipped more than 10 billion cores already [4]. The only reference to RISC-V AI in that article does reference Esperanto and its in the last paragraph. I was really hoping to find more content about these AI hardware chips. My guess here is that some other phrase is being used to describe the technology. I had spent some time looking around at searches related to, “Esperanto Technologies competitors.” That did not really yield anything major to share here. This is one I will need to circle back to at some point to see how AI specific hardware is changing. My efforts going down that road ended up looking at the IBM, “AI Hardware Center” [5]. I feel like a lot more companies are working in this space and more coverage could help highlight that at some later point.

Links and thoughts:

“Why Signal won’t compromise on encryption, with president Meredith Whittaker”

“Stanford Seminar – ML Explainability Part 1 I Overview and Motivation for Explainability”

Top 6 Tweets of the week:







What’s next for The Lindahl Letter?

  • Week 95: Quantum machine learning 
  • Week 96: Generative AI: Where are large language models going?
  • Week 97: MIT’s Twist Quantum programming language
  • Week 98: Deep generative models
  • Week 99: Overcrowding and ML

I’ll try to keep the what’s next list forward looking with at least five weeks of posts in planning or review. If you enjoyed this content, then please take a moment and share it with a friend. If you are new to The Lindahl Letter, then please consider subscribing. New editions arrive every Friday. Thank you and enjoy the week ahead.

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