Google unveils Arm-based data center processor, new AI chip

Google on Tuesday revealed the details of a new version of its data center artificial intelligence (AI) chips and announced an Arm-based central processor.

Google’s tensor processing units (TPUs) are one of the few viable alternatives to the advanced AI chips made by Nvidia, though developers can only access them through Google’s Cloud Platform and not buy them directly.

The logo of Google Cloud. /CFP

The logo of Google Cloud. /CFP

Google plans to offer the Arm-based central processing unit (CPU) called Axion via Google Cloud. The company said it has superior performance compared to x86 chips and general-purpose Arm chips in the cloud.

“We’re making it easy for customers to bring their existing workloads to Arm,” said Mark Lohmeyer, Google Cloud’s vice president and general manager of compute and machine learning infrastructure. “Axion is built on open foundations but customers using Arm anywhere can easily adopt Axion without re-architecting or re-writing their apps.”

The Alphabet subsidiary said the new TPU v5p chip is built to run in pods of 8,960 chips, and can achieve twice the raw performance as the prior generation of TPUs. To help ensure the pod runs at optimal performance, Google uses liquid cooling.

The Axion chip offers 30 percent better performance than general-purpose Arm chips, and 50 percent better performance than current generation x86 chips produced by Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, Google said.

The company plans to use Axion to power services such as its YouTube Ads in Google Cloud “soon.” The TPU v5p is generally available via Google’s cloud on Tuesday.

Rival cloud operators such as Amazon.com and Microsoft have also developed Arm CPUs as a way of differentiating the computing services they offer. Google has built other custom chips for YouTube, AI and its smartphones but had not built a CPU.

Source(s): Reuters