By: --- (, October 7, 2022 1:40 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
Is there yet any sort of movement for GP-NPU (analogous to GP-GPU, general purpose compute on an NPU)?
I can't speak for other designs (and there seem to be no good overviews or even consensus yet as to what these things should look like) but the Apple one appears to be essentially/primarily a convolution engine. Define an (essentially fixed) set of weights, run a stream of data against those weights, and accumulate sums. What we get in HW is a whole lot (low-precision) MACs linked to some (wider precision) accumulators, some specialized storage (weights plus input stream buffer) and some HW-assisted addressing.

Point is, you get much less than even GPUs when GP-GPU began.

So, can we do anything interesting with this that's not actually NPU related?
The most obvious possibly that struck me was random number related stuff; you can hook up these thing to act as LFSRs and (perhaps) generate lots of (few bit, adequate quality?) random numbers per cycle, then either concatenate them to generate streams of multi-bit integers uniformly distributed's or add 6 or 12 or so of them to generate (adequate?) gaussian values. I don't care about adversarial security stuff, I'm more interested in "good-enough" for various types of physics work.

Presumably (as was done in the early days of BrookGPU) you would have to fake this by creating a neural net in TensorFlow or equivalent that used the convolution options available to perform an LFSR (or more appropriate RNG) on each element of an array of input data, pooled them together (if summing for Gaussian) and dumped out a similar array of "random"s.
This may not seem like much, but if you could have it running in parallel with say a large Monte Carlo integration as the very 1st stage of generating a constant stream of uniform or gaussian randoms, before we condition them to fit a process, maybe there is some value there, the ability to double the speed or more?

Anyway, point is, has anyone heard any sort of mutterings along these lines? Or is everyone, even academics, still so excited by what new things can be done on GPUs that no-one yet even started thinking about NPUs?
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TopicPosted ByDate
GPNPU?---2022/10/07 01:40 PM
  GPNPU?---2022/10/07 07:23 PM
  GPNPU?Jörn Engel2022/10/08 09:02 AM
    GPNPU?---2022/10/08 10:38 AM
      GPNPU?Jörn Engel2022/10/08 04:16 PM
        GPNPU?dmcq2022/10/09 02:58 AM
  GPNPU?David Kanter2022/10/08 09:16 PM
    GPNPU?---2022/10/09 05:08 PM
  What is NPU ? (NT)Michael S2022/10/09 01:50 AM
    "Neural processing unit", AFAIU (NT)Foo_2022/10/09 02:22 AM
      Training, inference or both ? (NT)Michael S2022/10/09 03:03 AM
        Network Processing Unit (NT)anonymou52022/10/09 09:37 AM
    What is NPU ?Will W2022/10/09 09:25 AM
      XTLA :-) (NT)dmcq2022/10/09 11:51 AM
  GPNPU?Etienne2022/10/11 12:12 AM
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