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General Processor Commands IP Unity

July 31, 2018

Author: Mike Demler

General Processor Technologies (GPT), a unique group of affiliated companies based in China and the U.S., has developed a platform of heterogeneous-processor intellectual property (IP) it calls Unity. The platform includes a 64-bit CPU, a configurable deep-learning accelerator (DLA), and a vector DSP. The constituent companies are also developing a general-purpose GPU. GPT plans to begin licensing the CPU, DLA, and DSP as hard and soft cores beginning in 4Q18, after it validates the designs in TSMC’s 28nm process.

The Unity platform’s goal is to supply a family of processor cores that can rival offerings from Arm, Ceva, and other IP vendors. GPT has disclosed few details, but its CPU appears to be a Cortex-A72-class design, sans Arm Neon–like SIMD extensions. Filling that gap is the VLVm1 DSP, a dynamically configurable core that supports up to 64KB vectors. The Unity DLA is a 288-MAC core, but it scales to an eight-core configuration that comprises 2,304 half-precision floating-point MACs.

GPT designed the Unity platform as a complete heterogeneous processing architecture. It plans to support it with a GCC-based compiler, Caffe and TensorFlow tools, computer-vision APIs, and a CNN-model library. Developing a complete software stack for such a new heterogeneous architecture can take several years, but the company expects to minimize the effort by supporting an HSAIL run-time API and the HSA Finalizer, which converts HSAIL executables to the Unity 1.0 ISA. In 2015, Optimum’s CEO became the HSA Foundation president, and to promote HSA adoption in China, the foundation last year set up a group comprising 20 Chinese universities, led by a Hua Xia researcher. We expect the former Sandbridge team has developed the Unity software tools, applying the heterogeneous-processing experience it gained from its DSPs.

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