Ampere teams up with Qualcomm to launch an Arm-based AI server

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Ampere and Qualcomm aren’t the obvious of companions. Each, in any case, provide Arm-based chips for operating information middle servers (although Qualcomm’s largest market stays cell). However as the 2 corporations introduced right now, they’re now combining forces to supply an AI-focused server that makes use of Ampere’s CPUs and Qualcomm’s Cloud AI 100 Extremely AI inferencing chips for operating — not coaching — fashions.

Like each different chip producer, Ampere is seeking to revenue from the AI increase. The corporate’s focus, nonetheless, has all the time been on quick and power-efficient server chips, so whereas it might use the Arm IP so as to add a few of these options to its chips, it’s not essentially a core competency. That’s why Ampere determined to work with Qualcomm (and SuperMicro to combine the 2 options), Arm CTO Jeff Wittich tells me.

“The thought right here is that whereas I’ll present you some nice efficiency for Ampere CPUs operating AI inferencing on simply the CPUs, if you wish to scale out to even larger fashions — multi-100 billion parameter fashions, for example — identical to all the opposite workloads, AI isn’t one measurement matches all,” Wittich advised everydayai. “We’ve been working with Qualcomm on this answer, combining our tremendous environment friendly Ampere CPUs to do numerous the final function duties that you just’re operating together with inferencing, after which utilizing their actually environment friendly playing cards, we’ve acquired a server-level answer.”

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Picture Credit: Ampere

As for partnering with Qualcomm, Wittich stated that Ampere wished to place collectively best-of-breed options.

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“[R]eally good collaboration that we’ve had with Qualcomm right here,” he stated. “This is likely one of the issues that we’ve been engaged on, I believe we share numerous actually comparable pursuits, which is why I believe that that is actually compelling. They’re constructing actually, actually environment friendly options and numerous completely different elements of the market. We’re constructing actually, actually environment friendly options on the server CPU aspect.”

The Qualcomm partnership is a part of Ampere’s annual roadmap replace. A part of that roadmap is the brand new 256-core AmpereOne chip, constructed utilizing a contemporary 3nm course of. These new chips should not fairly typically out there but, however Wittich says they’re prepared on the fab and may roll out later this yr.

On high of the extra cores, the defining characteristic of this new technology of AmpereOne chips is the 12-channel DDR5 RAM, which permits Ampere’s information middle clients to higher tune their customers’ reminiscence entry in accordance with their wants.

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The gross sales pitch right here isn’t simply efficiency, although, however the energy consumption and price to run these chips within the information middle. That’s very true with regards to AI inferencing, the place Ampere likes to match its efficiency towards Nvidia’s A10 GPUs.

Picture Credit: Ampere

It’s price noting that Ampere shouldn’t be sunsetting any of its current chips in favor of those new ones. Wittich burdened that even these older chips nonetheless have loads of use instances.

Ampere additionally introduced one other partnership right now. The corporate is working with NETINT to construct a joint answer that pairs Ampere’s CPUs with NETINT’s video processing chips. This new server will be capable to transcode 360 stay video channels in parallel, all whereas additionally utilizing OpenAI’s Whisper speech-to-text mannequin to subtitle 40 streams.

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“We began down this path six years in the past as a result of it’s clear it’s the proper path,” Ampere CEO Renee James stated in right now’s announcement. “Low energy was once synonymous with low efficiency. Ampere has confirmed that isn’t true. We have now pioneered the effectivity frontier of computing and delivered efficiency past legacy CPUs in an environment friendly computing envelope.”

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