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Coherent Logix Configures Edge AI

October 20, 2020

Author: Mike Demler

After spending 15 years targeting military/aerospace, software-defined radios (SDRs), and other niche applica­tions, Coherent Logix is expanding into the commercial edge-AI market. Customers have deployed its previous-generation software-configurable embedded processors—called HyperX—in 3G/4G small cells, GPS receivers, ra­dars, sensor processing, and video analytics. In addition to handling general-purpose and signal-processing workloads as well as neural-network inference, the processor is well suited to cybersecurity and video transcoding.

The company describes HyperX as a memory-network technology, owing to its array of processor elements (PEs) that connect through a programmable mesh of data-memory routers (DMRs). Customers can use the chip to implement multiple independent heterogeneous function blocks. The function-block configurations and resource assignments are run-time programmable, as are the core voltages and clock frequencies.

Coherent plans to offer a range of devices in its new HX4-series lineup, but it first developed the HX40048 for an undisclosed customer. It’s using the HX40048 test results to develop the HX40416, which it plans to tape out by year-end. Packaged HX40416 chips and development boards are scheduled to sample in 3Q21. GlobalFoundries manufactures these latest processors in its 14nm FinFET technology.

The last four digits in the HyperX part numbers represent the chip’s PE count. The HX40416 places 416 PEs in a 16x26 matrix overlaid by a 17x27 array of DMRs (459 total DMRs). Additionally, it integrates a SiFive U54 CPU capable of running Linux and other high-level operating systems, but that CPU is unnecessary for the chip’s operations. The PEs support a total of 1,664 INT16 MAC operations per cycle, equivalent to 6.6 trillion operations per second (TOPS) at the 2.0GHz maximum clock rate.

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