Groq ISCA Paper 2020

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Download our 2020 ISCA-awarded paper, Think Fast: A Tensor Streaming Processor (TSP) for Accelerating Deep Learning Workloads.

In this paper, we introduce the TSP architecture, a functionally-sliced microarchitecture with memory units interleaved with vector and matrix deep learning functional units to take advantage of dataflow locality of deep learning operations. The TSP is built based on two key observations: (1) machine learning workloads exhibit abundant data parallelism, which can be readily mapped to tensors in hardware, and (2) a simple and deterministic processor with producer-consumer stream programming model enables precise reasoning and control of hardware components, achieving good performance and power efficiency. 

The TSP is designed to exploit parallelism inherent in machine-learning workloads including instruction-level, memory concurrency, data and model parallelism, while guaranteeing determinism by eliminating all reactive elements in the hardware (e.g. arbiters, and caches). 

Our first ASIC implementation of the TSP architecture yields a computational density of more than 1 TeraOp/s per square mm of silicon for its 25×29 mm 14nm chip operating at a nominal clock frequency of 900 MHz. The TSP demonstrates a novel hardware-software approach to achieve fast, yet predictable, performance on machine-learning workloads within a desired power envelope.

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