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The Graphcore “Colossus” Intelligence Processor

Simon Knowles ( Graphcore )

Abstract: The mechanization of intelligence has begun, and its impact on human life will be at least as profound as the mechanization of power.  Intelligence is computation, but differs somewhat from the workloads which have driven computer evolution so far.  Over the next few years we will see the emergence of new machine architectures, new programming methods, and new algorithm classes, driven hard by the vast potential of AI.  Fortunately we have an amazing technology for building computing machines, CMOS silicon.  Unfortunately we face huge challenges of parallelism and energy.   This talk will introduce the “Colossus” IPU and its programming model and tools, built by Graphcore at the vanguard of this new “AI age”.

Bio: Simon is co-founder, CTO and EVP Engineering of Graphcore, and the original architect of the IPU.  Simon has been designing processors for 35 years, specializing in original architectures for newly-emergent computing workloads.  He has been focussed on the new workload of intelligence since 2012.  Simon co-founded two successful processor companies before Graphcore – Element14 (acquired by Broadcom for $642m in 2000) and Icera (acquired by Nvidia for $436m in 2011).  He is an EE graduate of Cambridge University.



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