ARM's big.LITTLE scheme pairs clusters of hefty CPU cores along with groups of less capable, more power-efficient cores. The company is now taking the concept to the next level with its DynamIQ technology. The new tech grants chip designers increased flexibility in grouping cores of varying characteristics within a single SoC. This move has should net increased performance, power efficiency, and reliability. ARM says that some of DynamIQ's features are useful for artificial intelligence, machine learning, and VR scenarios.
The company's big.LITTLE technology previously required CPU cores to be arranged in clusters of up to four cores each in both the big and LITTLE portions of the SoC. DynamIQ allows chip designers more flexibility when setting up core configurations, like 1+3, 1+7, or 2+4. ARM's new tech also offers "substantially more granular and optimal control" over the cores. Each cluster can contain between one and eight cores with distinct power and performance characteristics.
A feature called "autonomous CPU memory power management" dynamically adjusts the amount of memory that's available to a CPU depending on the application. A game or augmented reality application might require all available memory, while a music streaming application could get by with less RAM, thereby saving power.
DynamIQ also adds special instructions designed specifically for machine learning and artificial intelligence. ARM didn't go into a lot of detail on this matter, but the company says users can expect up to a "50x boost in AI performance over the next three to five years relative to previous systems."
ARM says DynamIQ-based chips will be ready for use in advanced driver assistance systems for autonomous vehicles. The company says the SoCs will be compliant with ASIL-D, the most stringent level of automotive safety measures. ARM says a "low-latency port" lets the CPU communicate with the outside world with "up to 10x quicker response", potentially allowing a machine-learning application to make safety-critical decisions quickly. Meanwhile, DynamIQ's improved power efficiency should prove a boon for hybrid and battery-powered vehicles, where every watt counts.
According to The Verge, ARM has already licensed DynamIQ to select customers. The first wave of SoCs packing the new technology is expected to come to market in early 2018.
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