Google boosts machine learning with its Tensor Processing Unit

by Bruno Ferreira — 8:31 AM on May 19, 2016 Google has some new hardware out, and no, it’s not a Nexus device. The search giant makes extensive use of machine learning to power services like RankBrain and Street View, and it felt it could give those tasks a little more oomph. Enter the Tensor Processing Unit, or TPU for short. The TPU is a custom-designed ASIC small enough to fit into a hard drive slot in Google’s data center racks. Although the TPU has only just been revealed to the world, Google says it’s actually been using the hardware in its datacenters for over a year as a “stealthy project.” Google’s engineers say that the TPU offers a 10x performance-per-watt improvement over off-the-shelf solutions when dealing with machine learning…


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