Special Topic！About NPU
NPU (Neural Network Processing Unit) is a new type of processor specially designed for Deep Learning algorithm. Deep learning is the application to learning tasks of artificial neural networks (ANNs) that contain more than one hidden layer. Deep learning is part of a broader family of machine learning methods based on learning data representations, as opposed to task specific algorithms. Deep learning architectures such as deep neural networks(DNNs), deep belief networks(DBNs) and recurrent neural networks(RNNs) have been applied to fields including computer vision, speech recognition, natural language processing, audio recognition, social network filtering, machine translation and bioinformatics where they produced results comparable to and in some cases superior to human experts. Deep Learning algorithm requires massive and repeated matrix computation along with heavy data transportation. Traditional CPU (Central Processing Unit),DSP(Digital Signal Processor) cannot provide such large computing capabilities while GPU(Graphics Processing Unit) and FPGA(Field Programmable Gate Array) are expensive and consume too much power. NPU is dedicatedly designed for Deep Learning to meet the requirement of high performance, low power, low cost and small form factor.
In June 2016, Vimicro announced the mass production of VC0758, which is an IP Camera SoC with embedded NPU. By adopting innovative "Data-driven Parallel" architecture, this NPU can execute 128 Multiply-and-Add in one clock cycle and provide 76 GOPS of matrix computation.VC0758 also integrates SVAC Video Codec and peripherals. It can associate text type of AI video analytic results with YUV type of video data, then process the compression, finally produce the structural video bit stream and transmit thru Ethernet.
In today's Big Data era, 80% of new-generated data is video data. Without human observation, those systems handling massive video data normally are garbage-in and garbage-out. Using VC0758, people can easily build a smart camera which can see the world in the way as human being do. This AI camera can be used in drones, robots, ADAS, air-conditioner, refrigerator, etc.
Important NPU dates:
June 20, 2016 Vimciro announce the mass production of VC0758, an IP Camera SoC with embedded NPU, which is China's first shipping Neural Network Processor.
December 2016 VC0758 is used in Datong Safe City project.
March 2016 VC0758 is used in Xinjiang and Lanzhou Safe City projects.