IBM's Artificial Intelligence Unit

IBM has announced its “Artificial Intelligence Unit” (AIU), an expansion board compatible with any server or workstation, regardless of manufacturer, that supports PCIe expansion slots. The AIU interfaces an IBM-designed application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), built with 5 nanometre feature size transistors, with 32 accelerator cores and 23 billion transistors.

The cores perform computation with precision ranging from 32 bit floating point all the way down to 8 bit floating point and 2 bit integer. IBM has been a leader in “approximate computing”—using reduced precision to improve performance in AI training and inference computation.


One of the leaders in the AI chip space is the startup Groq, founded by the folks who started developing AI chips at Google. Here’s a paper about the tensor streaming architecture – and an EU review paper of alternative architectures.

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