AI processors go mobile

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At its iPhone X event last week, Apple devoted a lot of time to the A11 processor’s new neural engine that powers facial recognition and other features. The week before, at IFA in Berlin, Huawei announced its latest flagship processor, the Kirin 970, equipped with a Neural Processing Unit capable of processing images 20 times faster than the CPU alone.

The sudden interest in neural engines is driven by the rise of deep learning. These specialized processors are designed specifically to crunch the complex algorithms used in artificial neural networks faster and more efficiently than general-purpose CPUs.

This trend is already having a profound impact in the data center. Nvidia’s graphics processors for games have found a second life as…

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