Eindhoven-based Axelera AI, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) startup, announced on Thursday that it has officially unveiled its new AI platform, Metis AI Platform, a holistic hardware and software solution to accelerate computer vision processing at the Edge.
The announcement comes a month after raising €27M in a Series A round of funding.
The Metis AI Platform consists of Metis AI Processing Unit (AIPU) chip and the Voyager SDK software stack, available as cards, boards, and vision systems, says the Dutch company.
Metis AI platform: What you need to know
Axelera AI claims that Metis AI Platform is the first product to offer hundreds of TOPs (Tera Operations per Second) compute performance at an edge price-point.
The Metis AIPU features a quad-core architecture where each core can execute all layers of a standard neural network without external interactions, delivering up to 53.5 TOPs of AI processing power.
The compound throughput of the Metis AIPU can reach 214 TOPS. According to Axelera AI, it is the most powerful and advanced chip for edge devices compared to the currently available products.
In Metis AIPU, the quad-core architecture can either operate combinedly to boost the throughput or operate independently on the same neural network to reduce latency or process concurrently different neural networks for applications featuring pipelines of neural networks.
The four cores are integrated into a System-on-Chip (SoC), comprising a RISC-V controller, PCIe interface, LPDDR4X controller, and a security complex connected through high-speed Network-on-Chip (NoC).
The NoC connects the cores to a multi-level shared memory hierarchy of more than 52MiB of on-chip high-speed memories. In addition, the LPDDR4 controller connects to external memory for much larger neural networks.
Axelera’s D-IMC engine powers each core’s operation, accelerating matrix-vector multiplication operations at the high energy efficiency of 15 TOPs/W at INT8 precision.
Axelera AI co-founder and CTO, Evangelos Eleftheriou, says, “The Metis AIPU delivers record performance and energy efficiency and achieves FP32 iso-accuracy without retraining. It demonstrates the effectiveness of Axelera’s D-IMC engine by achieving matrix-vector multiplications with high-precision and constant time-complexity, which in tandem with the advanced quantisation algorithms, the large on-chip SRAM and the RISC-V technology are well-suited to address the stringent operational requirements of the AI applications at the Edge.”
“Axelera’s end-to-end integrated software stack, built on open, industry-standard frameworks and APIs, addresses the user pain points of AI application development at the Edge,” he adds.
On the software front, Voyager Software Development Kit includes an integrated compiler, a runtime stack, and powerful optimisation tools to enable customers to import their models.
The platform supports solutions for many environments, from fully embedded use cases to distributed processing of multiple 4K video streams across networked devices.
The Voyager SDK automatically quantises and compiles neural networks trained on different frameworks, generating code that runs on the Metis AI platform with industry-leading accuracy, claims the company.
Further, the solution allows software developers to focus on solving the application problem without any deep learning expertise.
“The Metis AI Platform represents an inflection point for businesses looking to deploy computer vision applications at the Edge,” says Paul Neil, VP of Product Management at Axelera AI.
He adds, “Tightly integrated hardware and software capability, a curated model zoo, and customisable application templates enable customers to accelerate through the evaluation and development cycle and shorten time-to-revenue.”
The products will be available in different form factors:
- Edge M.2 acceleration card, offering up to 214 TOPs priced from $149, corresponding to only $0.70 per TOPs
- PCIe card delivering up to 856 TOPs, powered by four Metis AIPUs
Separately, Axelera AI is working with partners to develop system-ready solutions.
Axelera AI has also announced an Early Access Program today, allowing customers to help shape the next generation of computer vision products at the Edge.
“We’re on a mission to democratise access to AI, starting with the Early Access Program. The programme gives selected customers the advantage of leveraging our disruptive technology ahead of competitors while providing crafted support for their specific requirements, with a set of tangible benefits including hardware co-design, dedicated software and machine learning support, and co-marketing initiatives,” said Flavio Devidé, Axelera AI Head of Go-To-Market.
Axelera AI: What you need to know
Founded in 2021 by Fabrizio Del Maffeo and Evangelos Eleftheriou, Axelera AI is designing the world’s most efficient and advanced solutions for AI at the edge.
The company says it will empower thousands of efficient and accessible edge AI applications and fully integrate with leading open-sourced AI frameworks when it launches to select customers and partners in early 2023.
Headquartered in the AI Innovation Center of the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, Axelera AI has R&D offices in Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, and the UK, with 100 employees in 11 countries.