This new CPU overcomes an historic computing bottleneck, but you’ll never guess who made it

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Sugar e-commerce And Cloud Titan Alibaba has teased for the first time a new chip that stacks memory and processing in a 3D orientation.

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As originally reported by two Chinese publications, pandily And sciencenet, the chip is the product of work at DAMO Academy (short for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook), a research and development (R&D) unit in Alibaba.

If reports are to be believed, the novel architecture allows the processor to overcome the infamous von Neumann barrier, which describes the speed limits created by the internal bus that passes data between Processor And Memory,

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Nerdshala Pro Alibaba sought confirmation of these claims and further details about the new chip, but did not receive an immediate response.

Alibaba Semiconductors

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Various workarounds for the von Neumann bottleneck have been developed by semiconductor designers, such as deploying cache memory between the CPU and main memory. The architecture of Apple’s M1 series of chips, meanwhile, bypasses the problem by keeping the processor and memory on a single system-on-chip (SoC).

However, for computers with discrete processing and memory (which includes most personal devices), the bottleneck continues to present considerable challenges. A chip that can solve this problem will inevitably be in high demand.

However, although little is known about the new Alibaba chip (including its name), it is unlikely to make its way to consumer devices. Instead, it will almost certainly be deployed in support of Alibaba. metal only And dedicated server Prasad, which has been done a main focus for the firm in the last few years.

as noted by register, the company is also set to give a presentation on “3D Logic-to-DRAM Hybrid Bonding” as part of a series machine learning Chips for Emerging Applications will be unveiled at a semiconductor conference next year, which provides another clue as to potential use cases.

The mysterious new chip is by no means the company’s only exciting project in the semiconductor space. In October, Alibaba Cloud unveiled a custom Arm-based server CPU called Yitian 710, which has 60 billion transistors and 128 cores.

For context, Apple’s highest-performing processor (M1 Max) has 57 billion transistors, while the top-tier AWS Graviton 2 and AMD EPYC ROM server CPUs have about 30 and 40 billion transistors, respectively.

During the same event, Alibaba also announced that it would devote more resources to building custom-built processors based on the open-source RISC-V architecture, in what looks like an effort to move away from proprietary compute architectures. .

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