Thursday, 01 April 2021 06:18

Arm releases details of new architecture for next 300 billion chips Featured

Simon Segars: “As we look toward a future that will be defined by AI, we must lay a foundation of leading-edge compute that will be ready to address the unique challenges to come." Simon Segars: “As we look toward a future that will be defined by AI, we must lay a foundation of leading-edge compute that will be ready to address the unique challenges to come." Courtesy Arm

Chip designer Arm has released details of its new Armv9 architecture, which it says "will form the leading edge of the next 300 billion Arm-based chips".

The British firm, which was acquired by GPU vendor Nvidia in a deal announced in September 2020, mostly designs chips for smartphones, tablets and smart devices.

Arm said on Tuesday the new architecture was being introduced in response to what it characterised as "global demand for ubiquitous specialized processing with increasingly capable security and artificial intelligence".

More than 100 billion Arm-based chips have been used over the last five years, the company said, adding, "At the current rate, 100% of the world’s shared data will soon be processed on Arm; either at the endpoint, in the data networks or the cloud."

Arm chief executive Simon Segars said: “As we look toward a future that will be defined by AI, we must lay a foundation of leading-edge compute that will be ready to address the unique challenges to come.

“Armv9 is the answer. It will be at the forefront of the next 300 billion Arm-based chips driven by the demand for pervasive specialised, secure and powerful processing built on the economics, design freedom and accessibility of general-purpose compute.”

To boost security, the Armv9 roadmap has introduced what it calls the Confidential Compute Architecture. This "shields portions of code and data from access or modification while in use, even from privileged software, by performing computation in a hardware-based secure environment".

Armv9 will also introduce the concept of dynamically created Realms, which can be used by all applications, in a region that is in neither the secure nor the non-secure worlds.

"For example, in business applications, Realms can protect commercially sensitive data and code from the rest of the system while it is in-use, at rest, and in transit," the company explained.

In order to cater to the pervasive need for artificial intelligence, Arm said it had partnered with Fujitsu to create Scalable Vector Extension technology that drives the world's fastest supercomputer which is known as Fugaku.

As an extension of this, Arm said it had "developed SVE2 for Armv9 to enable enhanced machine learning and digital signal processing capabilities" across more applications.

“Addressing the demand for more complex AI-based workloads is driving the need for more secure and specialised processing, which will be the key to unlocking new markets and opportunities,” said Richard Grisenthwaite, senior vice-president, chief architect and fellow, Arm.

“Armv9 will enable developers to build and program the trusted compute platforms of tomorrow by bridging critical gaps between hardware and software, while enabling the standardisation to help our partners balance faster time-to-market and cost control alongside the ability to create their own unique solutions.”

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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