Google claims that it has developed artificial intelligence software that can design computer chips faster than humans can. Tech giant Google said in a paper in the journal Nature on Wednesday that a chip that would take humans months to design can be dreamed up by its new AI in less than six hours. The AI has already been used to develop the latest iteration of Google’s tensor processing unit chips. Google said those are used to run AI-related tasks. The tech giant’s engineers noted that the breakthrough could have major implications for the semiconductor sector. “Our method has been used in production to design the next generation of Google TPU,” wrote the authors of the paper, led by Google’s head of machine learning for systems. To put it another way, Google is using AI to design chips that can be used to create even more sophisticated AI systems. Specifically, Google’s new AI can draw up a chip’s “floorplan.” This essentially involves plotting where components like CPUs, GPUs, and memory are placed on the silicon die in relation to one another. Their positioning on these minuscule boards is important as it affects the chip’s power consumption and processing speed. It takes humans months to optimally design these floorplans but Google’s deep reinforcement learning system, an algorithm, that’s trained to take certain actions in order to maximize its chance of earning a reward, can do it with relatively little effort.
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