PowerVR Vision & AI design team collect another award

Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on reddit
Share on digg
Share on email

We’re delighted that the design team for our PowerVR Series2NX Neural Network Accelerator (NNA) has been honoured with a prestigious British Engineering Excellence Award (BEEA). The BEEAs were established in 2009 to demonstrate the high calibre of engineering design and innovation in the UK. This year 40 different companies competed across 11 categories. The NNA design team received a BEEA for ‘Design Team of the Year.’

This is actually the second time this year that PowerVR designers have received an award for their work on the Series2NX – in May, the PowerVR Vision and AI team were named ‘Tech Team of the Year’ at the National Technology Awards 2018.

BEEA Award
The British Engineering Excellence Award won by the PowerVR Vision and AI design team

 

So, what’s so special about what this team has accomplished?

It takes a hard-working team to deliver a leading product and all the required software tools from the ground up in just 14 short months.

The project began in 2016 with a small dedicated group of engineers and limited resources. A mix of research, hardware and software engineers, they saw a need for the product and set out to make it a reality. As management saw initial results, a larger focus was put on the product, and the team grew steadily to realise and implement requirements. Ultimately, the team behind the Series2NX, led by Imagination’s VP of Vision and AI Russell James, comprised 90 engineers across four countries.

At the concept stage, industry solutions for computer vision were not fast or efficient enough to be able to execute the compute-intensive operations required for neural network acceleration on edge devices.

Given its deep experience in designing leading GPUs for mobile and embedded markets, the design team initially started the Series2NX design by modifying the PowerVR GPU architecture to achieve the performance levels needed for neural network acceleration. However, this approach led to a solution that was too large, and that idea was put aside. The team decided to create a completely new design. The Series2NX was created as a specific, optimised hardware acceleration unit for convolutional neural networks.

Once they made the decision to create a new design, the target was to achieve ~10-100x higher performance per mW and performance per mm2 compared to other embedded NNA solutions in the market. The end result exceeded expectations. By October 2017, the first evaluation systems were released, and the production release of the initial Series2NX IP, the PowerVR AX2185, was delivered soon thereafter.

Designed from the Ground Up

Every feature of the Series2NX was designed specifically for it. There were no preexisting flows, tools or system architecture to help ease or speed up the process. Of course, because everything needed to be custom designed, it presented the team with a unique opportunity to create the most efficient and competitive product they could without any constraints – something the team embraced and managed to do with great success.

One challenge was in creating an infrastructure to validate the product and develop all the tools. This was a complex task because each different network type has different testing needs – for example, a system for recognising faces has very different needs from a system for interpreting sentences.

PowerVR Series2NX NNA design team
Members of the PowerVR Series2NX NNA design team

The team came up with a comprehensive combination of tools, and supporting databases, for both bit-accurate and for fuzzy comparisons between the various components of the system. The hardware, simulation, software and quality assurance teams worked together finding practical solutions with a lot of trial and error, as well as using more theoretical techniques from the research and architecture teams.

The Series2NX NNA Today

Today, we offer two Series2NX cores – the PowerVR AX2185, optimised for performance efficiency, and the PowerVR AX2145, and multiple licensees using it for a range of applications including mobile and automotive. We’re excited about the traction it is gaining in the market, the amazing products our customers are rolling out, and the potential for future development, based on the innovations of our incredible PowerVR Vision and AI team.

Benny Har-Even

Benny Har-Even

With a background in technology journalism stretching back to the late 90s, Benny Har-Even has written for many of the top UK technology publications, across both consumer and B2B and has appeared as an expert on BBC World Business News and BBC Radio Five Live. He is now Content Manager at Imagination Technologies.

Please leave a comment below

Comment policy: We love comments and appreciate the time that readers spend to share ideas and give feedback. However, all comments are manually moderated and those deemed to be spam or solely promotional will be deleted. We respect your privacy and will not publish your personal details.

Blog Contact

If you have any enquiries regarding any of our blog posts, please contact:

United Kingdom

benny.har-even@imgtec.com
Tel: +44 (0)1923 260 511

Search by Tag

Search for posts by tag.

Search by Author

Search for posts by one of our authors.

Featured posts
Popular posts

Related blog articles

PVRMonitor for Android now available!

If you were at GDC 2019 or have been following our announcements, you may have heard about or even seen a demo of our complete rewrite of PVRMonitor. Not only has it been substantially improved, but we’ve also re-imagined it

Stay up-to-date with Imagination

Sign up to receive the latest news and product updates from Imagination straight to your inbox.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.