Photo by — @whoisdenilo

A Layout Generator for AI Hardware?

I recently read an article in Semiconductor Engineering called Layout Generators For Artificial Intelligence Hardware Design. Straight off the bat reading: “Accelerate your IC design process with flexible layout automation controllable by the designer.”

A combination of a series of words that those promoting artificial intelligence seems to like — BINGO!

As mostly a social scientist and not an engineer I get confused when encountering terms like these, and that is why I have set out to learn more about artificial intelligence and hardware.

So what is a layout generator?

First why is it needed:

  1. “AI often appears to be embedded in the end user device, such as a smartphone, the required computing power is generally only available on servers in the cloud.
  2. This means the Internet must always be available, and the latencies involved can be relatively long.
  3. In particular, signal analysis applications with extremely low energy consumption and extremely long battery lifetimes or time-critical applications cannot rely on such centralized architectures.
  4. In these cases, the complex signal analysis must be performed locally at the edge, in distributed fashion, making special hardware indispensable.”

There is a lot of talk about ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits). It is an integrated circuit (IC) chip customised for a particular use, rather than intended for general-purpose use.

“With generators as AI hardware design tools, it is possible to economically meet the challenges posed by the complex and variable requirements of modern applications.”

This is #500daysofAI and you are reading article 348. I am writing one new article about or related to artificial intelligence every day for 500 days. My focus for day 300–400 is about AI, hardware and the climate crisis.

AI Policy and Ethics at www.nora.ai. Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own. twitter.com/AlexMoltzau