All Processing Bends Toward AI

Google is experimenting with machine learning to perform place-and-route in IC design and is getting great results. The revelation, announced last week at the ISSCC conference held here, is as important for artificial intelligence as it is for circuit design. AI has been the most massive thing in the electronics sector for years, pulling an extraordinary amount of semiconductor research in its direction along with venture capital and headlines. Acknowledging the obvious, the theme of this year’s Integrated Solid-State Circuits Conference was Integrated Circuits Powering the AI Era, and the opening plenary session was constructed to map the extent to which AI has warped semiconductor space. The four plenary speakers explained how the requirements of AI are, for example, driving a new category of processors architected specifically for AI applications alongside CPUs and GPUs; spurring innovations in structure e.g., chiplets, multichip packages, interposers; and are even influencing the development of quantum computing.

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