Google reveals Tensor Processing Unit (TPU)

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The machine learning community has coalesced around Google’s TensorFlow library. Interestingly, one major holdout was DeepMind, which did most of its research on the Torch7 library. Then, late last month, DeepMind announced it was moving to TensorFlow as well — it was already using it for portions of AlphaGo.

Why does any of this matter? Well, with standardization comes the opportunity for optimization, and Google has gone wild with optimization in this case.

About an order of magnitude better

Almost any application can be sped up by having dedicated hardware, but you have to do something a lot of times to make it worth it. Video playback, for instance, is specially accelerated in almost all computers and phones, because people like watching video and mostly use a few standard codecs. This makes playback smoother and consumes less battery — it’s better in every way, at the cost of flexibility. Obviously, Google does a lot of TensorFlow, and can now reap the benefits.

Read the source article at The Verge