Google’s Tensor Processing Unit: The AI Market Is Shifting

Last month, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) announced, among other things, the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU). While a number of Seeking Alpha commenters have hailed this innovation (here and here), none of them have really touched on the technicals reasons behind this, other than general comments on ‘better machine learning’. This article is a brief summary of my thoughts on Google’s move into custom machine learning hardware. (click to enlarge) Click to enlarge What is the TPU? Let’s begin by clarifying what exactly the TPU is. It’s an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC). A normal CPU is a general purpose computer, it can run any conceivable program. An ASIC is purpose-built hardware where logic is encapsulated in the actual physical chip-layout, i.e. through the specific arrangement of logical gates that perform the…


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