Axelera AI Announces Metis AI Platform

Accelerating Computer Vision at the Edge

  • The MetisTM AI Platform – a holistic hardware and software solution for AI inference at the Edge – enables computer vision applications to become more accessible, powerful and user friendly than ever before. The platform encompasses the recently taped-out high-performance MetisTM AI Processing Unit (AIPU) chip and the versatile software stack Voyager SDK. It is available as AI acceleration cards, boards, and vision systems.
  • Axelera’s Metis AIPU delivers an unprecedented peak performance up to 214 TOPs with an energy efficiency of 15 TOPs/W at INT8, thanks to a novel Digital In-Memory Computing (D-IMC) engine. FP32 iso-accuracy is achieved without the need to retrain the neural network models.
  • Axelera’s software stack, Voyager SDK, sets new standards in usability, enabling rapid deployment of neural networks in the field allowing adopters of Axelera technology to focus on solving their business problems.
  • Axelera AI also announces its Early Access Program today, a unique collaboration opportunity for leading companies to co-design real-world Edge AI solutions based on the Metis AI platform.
  • PCIe and M.2 cards will be available for selected customers in early 2023. Separately, Axelera AI is working with partners to develop system ready solutions.
 

Eindhoven, Netherlands – December 15th, 2022 – European artificial intelligence (AI) startup Axelera AI announced today its MetisTM AI Platform, encompassing the Metis AI Processing Unit (AIPU) chip and the Voyager SDK software stack – available as cards, boards, and vision systems – to accelerate computer vision processing at the edge.

The Metis AI Platform redefines affordability for Edge AI solutions without compromising on performance and is the first product in the market to offer hundreds of TeraOPS (TOPs) compute performance at an edge price-point. The products will be available in different form factors: an Edge M.2 acceleration card, offering up to 214 TOPs priced from $149, corresponding to only $0.70 per TOPs, as well as a PCIe card delivering up to 856 TOPs, powered by four Metis AIPUs. Separately, Axelera AI is working with partners to develop system ready solutions.

The software stack, Voyager SDK, includes an integrated compiler, a runtime stack and powerful optimization tools that enable customers to import their own models delivering class-leading performance on the Metis AI platform. Application templates speed up development, with customers able to choose from Axelera’s carefully curated Model Zoo.

Technology highlights
The Metis AIPU delivers high performance at the Edge in a highly cost-effective compute platform and was taped out within 12 months after the successful tape out of the Thetis test vehicle that demonstrated the efficacy of Axelera’s SRAM-based D-IMC engine.

The Metis AIPU is a quad core architecture. Each core can execute all layers of a standard neural network without external interactions delivering up to 53.5 TOPs of AI processing power. Thus, the compound throughput of the Metis AIPU can reach 214 TOPS – the most powerful and advanced chip for edge devices, outperforming by far currently available products. The cores can either be combined to boost the throughput of a complex workload or operate independently on the same neural network to reduce latency or process concurrently different neural networks for applications featuring pipelines of neural networks. Central to the operation of each core is Axelera’s D-IMC engine for accelerating matrix-vector multiplication operations, offering an unprecedented high energy efficiency of 15 TOPs/W at INT8 precision.

The four cores are integrated into a System-on-Chip (SoC), comprising RISC-V controller, PCIe interface, LPDDR4X controller, and a security complex connected via a high-speed Network-on-Chip (NoC). The NoC also connects the cores to a multi-level shared memory-hierarchy of more than 52MiB of on-chip high-speed memories, while the LPDDR4 controller connects to external memory, enabling support for much larger neural networks. Finally, the PCIe interface provides a high-speed link to an external host, which will offload full neural network applications to the Metis AIPU.

“The Metis AIPU not only delivers record performance and energy efficiency but also 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 quantization 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 AI co-founder and CTO Evangelos Eleftheriou said. “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”.

Rapidly develop and deploy computer vision applications at the Edge
The Metis AI Platform enables customers to rapidly develop and deploy computer vision applications. The Voyager SDK provides turnkey pipelines for state-of-the-art models, which a user may customize for their application, generate optimized code for, and deploy to Metis-enabled edge devices with one-click simplicity. The platform supports solutions for a wide range of environments, ranging from fully embedded use cases to distributed processing of multiple 4K video streams across networked devices. By delivering class-leading ease-of-use as part of the Metis AI Platform, Axelera enables software developers to focus on solving the application problem – no Deep Learning expertise is required –significantly reducing time to market.

Via the Axelera AI Model Zoo, customers can access a wealth of Neural Networks to customize, fine-tune, deploy as-is, or import their own pre-trained neural networks. The Voyager SDK automatically quantizes and compiles neural networks that have been trained on different frameworks, generating code which runs on the Metis AI platform with industry-leading accuracy. Optimized networks running on Metis AIPU are indistinguishable from those running on systems with floating-point units.

“The Metis AI Platform represents an inflection point for businesses looking to deploy computer vision applications at the Edge,” said Paul Neil, VP Product Management at Axelera AI. “Tightly integrated hardware and software capability, a curated model zoo and customizable application templates enable customers to accelerate through the evaluation and development cycle and shorten time-to-revenue.”

Early Access Program open today
Axelera AI opens the Early Access Program today, offering customers the opportunity to help shape the next generation of computer vision products at the Edge. “We’re on a mission to democratize access to AI, starting with the Early Access Program. The program 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. “In the past, customers have suffered with immature Edge AI offerings, have struggled to port their software and failed to reproduce declared performance in their real applications. The Metis AI Platform has been designed from the ground up to address these issues, and the Early Access Program removes all the barriers to its adoption.”

If you are interested to know more and sign up for the program, please visit the dedicated section on our website.

Visit Axelera AI at the Consumer Electronics Show and Embedded World 2023!

About Axelera AI
Axelera AI is designing the world’s most powerful and advanced solutions for AI at the edge. Its game-changing MetisTM AI platform – a holistic hardware and software solution for AI interference at the edge – enables computer vision applications to become more accessible, powerful and user friendly than ever before. 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. Its team of experts in AI software and hardware hail from top AI firms and Fortune 500 companies. For more information on Axelera AI see: www.axelera.ai.

For more information, contact:
Merlijn Linschooten, press@axelera.ai

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