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Alif Semiconductor is bridging the gap between standard microcontrollers and high-end GPU solutions. They’re providing scalable, integrated, and secure microprocessors and microcontrollers for low-power machine learning (ML) tasks. To design these complex SoCs, Alif is using Cadence’s state-of-the-art EDA tools as well as the Arm® Cortex® and Ethos processors.
While standard MCUs can address simple ML tasks like keyword spotting or failure detection, tasks like facial or speech recognition are much heavier and require hundreds of giga operations per second (GOPS). Standard MCUs can’t deliver that. Designers would have to jump to the GPU classes to achieve that kind of performance, but they’re too costly, too big, and consume too much power.
Alif’s products offer 100GOPS performance while reducing power consumption and imprint time by 50X compared to microcontrollers on the low end. On the GPU side, they represent just a fraction of the cost, power, complexity, and size. Their technology has opened up new possibilities for wearable devices, security systems, biometric ID retail, and other low-power ML applications.
At the time of their first SoC design, Alif was very early to adopt the latest IP from Arm, namely the Cortex-A, Cortex-M, and CPU cores, and the Ethos neural processing unit. In fact, Arm was one of the first semiconductor suppliers to generate a product that had both the Cortex-M55 processor and the Ethos-U55 processor on the die, which generated amazingly efficient performance.
Alif believes in achieving the perfect balance of multi-core compute memory, bus fabric, analog and digital peripherals, security power management, and more on a single die. To accomplish this, they’ve been using Cadence’s state-of-the-art EDA tools, including the Cadence digital full flow, from the get-go. The key points for using it have been the PPA efficiency, simulation power analysis, and the timing closure signoff using the Tempus Timing Solution.
Alif’s partnership with Cadence has supported them in generating excellent results and saving them time throughout their journey. They are excited to continue pushing the envelope with their upcoming SoC designs and are grateful for Cadence's continued support as their EDA partner. Learn more about how Alif is creating SoC solutions for ML with Cadence and Arm.
“Designed with Cadence” is a series of videos that showcases creative products and technologies that are accelerating industry innovation using Cadence tools and solutions. For more Designed with Cadence videos, check out the Cadence website and YouTube channel.