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ZDNet Article: Open Source AI Chips Making Green Waves: Bringing Energy Efficiency To IoT Architecture

By February 25, 2019May 12th, 2021No Comments

The benefits open source offers in terms of innovation and adoption have earned it a place in enterprise software. We could even go as far as to say open source is becoming the norm in enterprise software. But open source hardware, chips to be specific, and AI chips to be even more specific?
GreenWaves, a startup based in Grenoble, France, is doing just that. GreenWaves is developing custom, ultra-low power specialized chips for machine learning. These specialized chips leverage parallelism and a multi-core architecture to run machine learning workloads at the edge, on battery-powered devices with extreme limitations. The chips GreenWaves makes are based on open source designs, and are making waves indeed.
GreenWaves just announced a 7M€ Series A Funding with Huami, Soitec, and other investors. As per the announcement, funds will finance the sales ramp of GreenWaves’ first product, GAP8, and the development of the company’s next generation product. ZDNet discussed with Martin Croome, GreenWaves VP of Product Development, to find out what this is all about.
This approach is somewhat reminiscent of open core software: An open source core, with custom extensions that add value. The building blocks that GreenWaves is using is the RISC-V instruction set, and PULP.
RISC-V is an open-source hardware ISA based on established reduced instruction set computer (RISC) principles. RISC-V can be used royalty-free for any purpose and began in 2010 at the University of California, Berkeley. RISC-V has many contributors and users in the industry. As Loic Lietar, GreenWaves’ co-founder and CEO noted, the likes of Nvidia and Google also use RISC-V. This means RISC-V contributions grow, and anyone can benefit.
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