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Microchip Reveals Software Development Kit and Neural Network IP for Easily Creating Low-Power FPGA Smart Embedded Vision Solutions
Microchip’s VectorBlox SDK and IP offers an easy way for software developers to program a trained neural network without prior FPGA expertise

With the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and the Internet of Things (IoT), applications are moving to the network edge where data is collected, requiring power-efficient solutions to deliver more computational performance in ever smaller, thermally constrained form factors. Through its Smart Embedded Vision initiative, Microchip Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: MCHP) is meeting the growing need for power-efficient inferencing in edge applications by making it easier for software developers to implement their algorithms in PolarFire® field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). As a significant addition to the solutions portfolio in this segment, Microchip’s VectorBlox Accelerator Software Development Kit (SDK) helps developers take advantage of Microchip’s PolarFire FPGAs for creating low-power, flexible overlay-based neural network applications without learning an FPGA tool flow. 

FPGAs are ideal for edge AI applications, such as inferencing in power-constrained compute environments, because they can perform more giga operations per second (GOPS) with greater power efficiency than a central processing unit (CPU) or graphics processing unit (GPU), but they require specialized hardware design skills. Microchip’s VectorBlox Accelerator SDK is designed to enable developers to code in C/C++ and program power-efficient neural networks without prior FPGA design experience.

The highly flexible tool kit can execute models in TensorFlow and the open neural network exchange (ONNX) format which offers the widest framework interoperability. ONNX supports many frameworks such as Caffe2, MXNet, PyTorch, and MATLAB®. Unlike alternative FPGA solutions, Microchip’s VectorBlox Accelerator SDK is supported on Linux® and Windows® operating systems, and it also includes a bit accurate simulator which provides the user the opportunity to validate the accuracy of the hardware while in the software environment. The neural network IP included with the kit also supports the ability to load different network models at run time.

 “In order for software developers to benefit from the power efficiencies of FPGAs, we need to remove the impediment of them having to learn new FPGA architectures and proprietary tool flows, while giving them the flexibility to port multi-framework and multi-network solutions,” said Bruce Weyer, vice president of the Field Programmable Gate Array business unit at Microchip. “Microchip’s VectorBlox Accelerator SDK and neural network IP core will give both software and hardware developers a way to implement an extremely flexible overlay convolutional neural network architecture on PolarFire FPGAs, from which they can then more easily construct and implement their AI-enabled edge systems that have best-in-class form factors, thermals and power characteristics.”

For inferencing at the edge, PolarFire FPGAs deliver up to 50 percent lower total power than competing devices, while also offering 25 percent higher-capacity math blocks that can deliver up to 1.5 tera operations per second (TOPS). By using FPGAs, developers also have greater opportunities for customization and differentiation through the devices’ inherent upgradability and ability to integrate functions on a single chip. The PolarFire FPGA neural network IP is available in a range of sizes to match the performance, power, and package size tradeoffs for the application, enabling customers to implement their solutions in package sizes as small as 11 × 11 mm.

Microchip’s Smart Embedded Vision initiative was launched last July to provide hardware and software developers with tools, intellectual property (IP) cores, and boards for meeting the thermally constrained and small-form-factor requirements of edge applications. Because PolarFire FPGAs deliver lower power compared to other solutions, customers can eliminate the need for fans in their enclosures. PolarFire FPGAs also offer more functional integration for a customer’s design. For example, in applications such as a smart camera, PolarFire FPGAs can integrate the image signal pipeline which includes the sensor interface, DDR controller, image signal processing (ISP) IP and network interfaces, all while integrating the machine learning inference.

Availability

Microchip’s VectorBlox Accelerator SDK is scheduled to be available in the third quarter of 2020, starting with an Early Access Program in June. PolarFire FPGAs are in production today. For more information, visit the Smart Embedded Vision web page or contact vectorblox@microchip.com.

2020052001 / 20.05.2020 / Various / Microchip Technology Inc. /

New In-Circuit Emulator (ICE) Boosts Productivity with Feature-Rich Programming and Debugging
Microchip’s MPLAB ICE 4 In-Circuit Emulator is a full emulation, programming and debugging system featuring wireless connectivity, power debugging and real-time code profiling using trace

High-Precision Voltage Reference IC Provides Very-Low Drift for Extended-Temperature Automotive Applications
New device completes Microchip’s family of Vref products providing increased reliability and AEC-Q100 qualification

Microchip and Acacia Collaborate to Enable Market Transition to 400G Pluggable Coherent Optics for Data Center Routing, Switching and Metro OTN Platforms
Solutions enable encrypted 100/400 GbE, FlexE and Flexible OTN interfaces for 400ZR, OpenZR+ and Open ROADM applications

Reduce Switching Losses up to 50% While Accelerating Time to Market with the First Fully Configurable Digital Gate Driver for Silicon Carbide MOSFETs – Now Production Ready
New technology enables electric buses and other e-transportation power systems to meet and exceed stringent environmental conditions while maximizing efficiency

Microchip Unveils Industry’s Most Compact 1.6T Ethernet PHY with Up to 800 GbE Connectivity for Cloud Data Centers, 5G and AI
META-DX2L enables routers, switches and line cards to double their bandwidth by transitioning to 112G PAM4 interface rates

Smart High Level Synthesis (HLS) Tool Suite Enables C++ Based Algorithm Development Using Microchip’s PolarFire® FPGA Platform
Enhances Accessibility to PolarFire FPGAs for Hardware Acceleration in Edge Compute Systems

New Chip Scale Atomic Clock (CSAC) Provides Wider Operating Temperatures, Faster Warm-up and Improved Frequency Stability in Extreme Environments
Microchip’s SA65 CSAC for military and industrial systems features ultra-high precision and low power consumption

New I2C Serial EEPROM Introduces 3.4MHz High-Speed Mode Operation, Software Write-Protection and Factory Programmed Serial Numbers
Industry First 3.4 MHz I2C Serial EEPROM Closes the Gap in Trade-Offs Between SPI and I2C Protocols

Mid-Range FPGAs Reach the Next Power and Performance Milestone for Edge Compute Systems
Microchip’s new low-density PolarFire® devices consume half the static power of alternatives while providing world’s smallest thermal footprint

First Aerospace-qualified Baseless Power Module Family Improves Aircraft Electrical System Efficiency
Microchip’s BL1, BL2 and BL3 family, developed with the Clean Sky consortium, is qualified to stringent aerospace standards for AC-to-DC and DC-to-AC power conversion

First Single-Chip Network Synchronization Solution Provides Ultra Precise Timing for 5G Radio Access Equipment
Combines integration and performance in one compact, low-power device supported by Microchip’s widely deployed IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol (PTP) and synchronization algorithm software modules

Replace Silicon IGBTs with Industry’s Most Rugged Silicon Carbide Power Solutions Now Available at 1700V
Silicon carbide portfolio with 1700V MOSFET die, discrete and power module devices extend designers’ options for efficiency, power density

Company of the week

Yamaichi Electronics USA Inc.

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ENERGETAB 2021 Poland, Bielsko Biala, 14.9.-16.9.2021


New COM-HPC Client size B & COM Express Type 6 size Basic with 11th Gen Intel® Core (Tiger Lake-H)


11th Gen Intel® Core™ processors with two new design options - COM Express & COM-HPC | Interview


Address Book


Yamaichi Electronics USA Inc.


PICMG


Laird Thermal Systems


HARTING


Jenoptik


MACH SYSTEMS s.r.o.


A.P.O. - ELMOS v.o.s.


Pico Technology


Lynred


Advantech


EBV


SECO S.p.A.


Crowd Supply


Digi-Key Electronics


Durakool


KEMET


CODICO


Future Electronics


Foremost Electronics


Littelfuse


Mouser Electronics


RUTRONIK


Infineon Technologies AG


TTI, Inc.


ANRITSU


Power Integrations


AXIOMTEK


TDK Corporation


VISHAY


STMicroelectronics



Calendary
HANNOVER MESSE 2022, 25.4.-29.4. 2022 - “The biggest transfo
DistribuTECH, 7.2.-9.2.2023, San Diego, CA
DistribuTECH, 23.1.-25.1.2024, Indianapolis, IN
DistribuTECH, 11.2.-13.2.2025, Dallas, TX

Interesting video
The ISS Design Challenge ...

Interesting video
Mouser Electronics Warehouse Tour with Grant Imahara



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