Lightmatter Mars SoC AI Inference Using Light

niekbergboer

Active Member
Jun 21, 2016
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Now this is something extremely interesting! We've all seen it: electronics like this, electronics like that, electronics with these gates and with those gates, with a rainbow and a unicorn...

... but THIS is something completely new in terms of an actual implementation! I studied physics in the 90s, and they were already talking/dreaming about this: it would be revolutionary. Of course, all we had were ideas of chewing-gum/duct-tape setups in the lab. I am stoked to see an actual _chip_ in the field!
 

funkywizard

mmm.... bandwidth.
Jan 15, 2017
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ioflood.com
Now this is something extremely interesting! We've all seen it: electronics like this, electronics like that, electronics with these gates and with those gates, with a rainbow and a unicorn...

... but THIS is something completely new in terms of an actual implementation! I studied physics in the 90s, and they were already talking/dreaming about this: it would be revolutionary. Of course, all we had were ideas of chewing-gum/duct-tape setups in the lab. I am stoked to see an actual _chip_ in the field!
Yes, exactly. And I think AI gives the perfect excuse for doing it, as you have a massive amount of one type of calculation that needs to be performed across a large swath of data. Even when the calculations need to change a little, say, different weights, it's still all the same matrix math. So it lends itself very well to a scenario where you need to perform a huge amount of "dumb" calculations across a lot of data.

In the past there had been limited use cases where it's very very important to perform near identical calculations an inordinate number of times. Most computing workloads needed more flexibility than that. So AI becoming a major workload is definitely helping along this technology. Very exciting!
 

funkywizard

mmm.... bandwidth.
Jan 15, 2017
692
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USA
ioflood.com
Hmm, the other use case where you commonly need to perform massive numbers of "dumb" calculations very quickly with a minimum of electrical use is crypto mining. I wonder if they'll use a chip like this for that ; )
 

Patrick

Administrator
Staff member
Dec 21, 2010
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This was the last Hot Chips presentation. I think it may have been the coolest one of the show. Some people prefer commercially available chip stuff. I really like companies doing something completely different.
 
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