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DeePhi Accelerates Xilinx AI Strategy

September 18, 2018

Author: Mike Demler

Xilinx recently acquired DeePhi, a developer of FPGA-based accelerators for computer vision and speech recognition. DeePhi developed two different neural-network inference engines, which it delivers preinstalled on a family of Zynq-powered PCIe cards. The Aristotle architecture targets convolutional neural networks (CNNs), and Descartes is for recurrent neural networks (RNNs) that use long-short term memory (LSTM).

DeePhi integrates Aristotle on its DP-2400-xxx video cards, in various configurations that come with software for advanced driver assistance system (ADAS), face analytics/tracking, video surveillance, and other applications. Descartes powers the company’s speech-recognition engine. Customers can access the Descartes technology on Amazon’s web service (AWS) and Huawei’s cloud platform.

The DeePhi designs fit Xilinx’s plan to offer a library of soft-overlay architectures for its FPGAs, including the next-generation 7nm Everest products. The overlays don’t eliminate the need for HDL-based design, but they offers a much shorter time to market (or at least to prototype) than using licensed IP cores to build an ASIC. The success of the overlay program will depend on competitive application-specific IP designs developed by experts such as DeePhi, along with software tools that make integration easier than traditional FPGA design flows.

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