ARM's DynamIQ is the future of multi-core SoCs

ARM illustration shows

Tech giant ARM Holdings today entered the race to power driverless cars as it launched a new chip - one of the first big innovations since the Cambridge company was snapped up for £24 billion by Japan's SoftBank past year.

"We started cluster with the ARM11 4-core cluster ten years ago, and then big.LITTLE was six years ago, and we used the CoreLink SoC [fabric] to scale these into larger systems", said Nayampally. Chances are that there is an ARM chip in your smartphone, tablet, wireless router, media streamer, or even in your state-of-the art "connected" vehicle. That news was a bit of a preview of today's announcement, as the DynamIQ architecture sees the company pushing even further into server/cloud computing hardware, along with newfound networking applications.

Building on a decade of innovation, ARM is unveiling its next step in multi-core technology with DynamIQ - a multi-core microarchitecture that will serve as foundation for all new Cortex-A processors.

This produces a processor that can fire up powerful cores for demanding tasks and then shut them down and use their less powerful brethren for less demanding workloads in order to reduce energy consumption.

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ARM's DynamIQ architecture builds on its earlier big.LITTLE with the ability to mix up to eight cores of differing performance/power ratios, while also adding instructions created to accelerate AI and ML applications. DynamIQ's built-in technologies will bring "increased safety capabilities" and "enable partners to build systems for safe operation under failure conditions".

Previous (and current) generation Cortex cores aren't capable of supporting DynamIQ, which means that we'll be seeing new core designs over the coming months which incorporate the architecture.

Other upcoming features include dedicated processing instructions for AI and machine learning, with an expected 50x boost in AI performance over the next 3-5 years, relative to the Cortex-A73. And hopefully at that time, we'll receive some hard data on how performance and overall efficiency compares to existing big.LITTLE configurations. ARM executives point to the fact that phones and other devices of the future will be much smarter and more complex than today's crop of personal electronics, which means they'll need enormous processing power to tackle all of their artificial intelligence algorithms. It's called DynamIQ, and it'll launch in new devices beginning later this year.

ARM hopes that leveraging DynamIQ architecture will allow its designs to be shipped in over 100 billion chips between now and the year 2021.

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