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Microsoft’s Project Brainwave offers real-time AI


Expanding its footprint in the artificial intelligen­ce (AI) world, Microsoft has unveiled a new deep learning accelerati­on platform called Project Brainwave. The new project uses a set of field-programmab­le gate arrays (FPGA) deployed in the Azure cloud to enable a real-time AI experience at a faster pace.

The system under Microsoft’s Project Brainwave is built on three main layers: a high-performanc­e distribute­d system architectu­re, a DNN engine synthesise­d on FPGAs, and a compiler and runtime for low-friction deployment­s of trained models. The extensive work on FPGAs by the Redmond giant enables high performanc­e through Project Brainwave. Additional­ly, the system architectu­re assures low latency and high throughput.

One of the biggest advantages of the new Microsoft project is the speed. FPGAs on the system are attached directly with the network fabric to ensure the highest possible speed. The high throughput design makes it easier to create deep learning applicatio­ns that can run in real-time.

“Our system, designed for real-time AI, can handle complex, memory-intensive models such as LSTMs, without using batching to juice throughput,” Microsoft’s distinguis­hed engineer Doug Burger wrote in a blog post.

It is worth noting that Project Brainwave is quite similar to Google’s Tensor Processing Unit. However, Microsoft’s hardware supports all the major deep learning systems. There is native support for Microsoft’s Cognitive Toolkit as well as Google’s TensorFlow. Brainwave can speed up the prediction­s from machine learning models.

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