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Lightelligence optical AI accelerator prototype released

by Mark Tyson on 15 April 2019, 15:11

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qad6rn

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We have previously reported upon optical computing advancements such as chip-scale optical computing enabled by squeezing light, and the pioneering of on-chip optical links. In summary, optical technology applied to computer chips offers a lot of theoretical attractions such as amazing transfer speeds and low latencies, with reduced power consumption.

Now an outfit called Lightelligence claims to have released a prototype of an AI accelerator chip that includes photonic circuits for dramatic gains in the processing of these types of calculations. Lightelligence has about 20 employees including veterans from distinguished universities, and industry experience in the shape of former AMD senior fellow Maurice Steinman, and Google and Microsoft engineer Gilbert Hendry.

The headline claim of Lightelligence, as reported by VentureBeat, is that its prototype optical AI chip improves latency by up to 10,000 times, and its power consumption is "orders of magnitude" lower than traditional silicon chips.

Lightelligence's prototype comes in the form of a small PCB that slots into existing machines at the network edge. Attractive qualities of the device, beyond those headliners stated above, are; reduced energy wasted as heat, plus temperature, noise, and EM stability.

MNIST, a benchmark machine learning model that uses computer vision to recognize handwritten digits, was demonstrated by Lightelligence, running on its accelerator. In tests, its matrix-vector multiplications and other linear operations ran "roughly 100 times faster than the state-of-the-art electronic chips". This in turn is "100,000 times faster than the system demonstrated in our Nature Photonics paper" (PDF) and much smaller than that device - which was a proof of concept from the research team behind the prototype.

The Lightelligence developers say that their AI accelerator chip will eventually ship with software to make the device compatible with the likes of Google Tensorflow, Facebook Caffe2 and Pytorch, and others. VentureBeat notes that Lightelligence competes with another well-funded startup called Lightmatter.



HEXUS Forums :: 11 Comments

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Wait, I invented this in my Dreams - I Own this, You can't steal it away, The is intellectual dream property Theft!!!

This is the Future, but i would be shocked to see this being used in the next 10 years. There is alot of going on in this field and they aren't the only ones doing this, they do have a the right minded people behind it for sure.
Jace007
Wait, I invented this in my Dreams - I Own this, You can't steal it away, The is intellectual dream property Theft!!!

This is the Future, but i would be shocked to see this being used in the next 10 years. There is alot of going on in this field and they aren't the only ones doing this, they do have a the right minded people behind it for sure.

Most Starfleet ships run on an ODN (optical data network) system. Aside from the original Enterprise which, by the sounds of things, ran on floppy drives and / or punch cards. You didn't invent this. People who make up cool sounding acronyms for sci-fi did.

Now, where did I put the green stuff?

EDIT: Actually, what will be ultra cool will be if they can increase bandwidth by encoding in the spin / orbital angular momentum of the light being used. That way you can encode in at least four different ways and you could probably employ orthogonal frequency division multiplexing as well. Which would be nice. What I want to know is if they're using light as a particle or a wave and are there different, weird quantum effects to account for?
Don't confuse fiction with fact. There are only so many elements to quantum theory and so it has likely already been seen and solved. There is more to this picture than factual science.

I do think that light is not the answer - it's more likely that we will encode stuff with gravity now and in the future. Such has been suggested :)
Millennium
Don't confuse fiction with fact.

Um, it was a joke… but for your sake I shall absolutely stop making jokes, no matter how blatantly obvious. :)
Didn't mean to offend! Apologies phile :)