Jun 7, 2022

A chip that can classify nearly 2 billion images per second

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, mobile phones, robotics/AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) plays an important role in many systems, from predictive text to medical diagnoses. Inspired by the human brain, many AI systems are implemented based on artificial neural networks, where electrical equivalents of biological neurons are interconnected, trained with a set of known data, such as images, and then used to recognize or classify new data points.

In traditional neural networks used for , the image of the target object is first formed on an , such as the in a smart phone. Then, the image sensor converts light into , and ultimately into the , which can then be processed, analyzed, stored and classified using computer chips. Speeding up these abilities is key to improving any number of applications, such as face recognition, automatically detecting text in photos, or helping self-driving cars recognize obstacles.

While current, consumer-grade image classification technology on a digital chip can perform billions of computations per second, making it fast enough for most applications, more sophisticated image classification such as identifying moving objects, 3D object identification, or classification of microscopic cells in the body, are pushing the computational limits of even the most powerful technology. The current speed limit of these technologies is set by the clock-based schedule of computation steps in a computer processor, where computations occur one after another on a linear schedule.

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