2019 was yet another year of incredible technology discovery. From healthcare, to food, to artificial intelligence1, exciting and inspiring advancements have been made across the research community, and Arm Research is no exception. Our teams have shared their research by writing a multitude of blog posts, covering everything from high-level summaries of work presented at top-tier academic conferences, Arm Research contributions to exciting new Arm capabilities, and announcements of new partnerships and collaborations. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourite posts from our researchers in 2019.
2019 demonstrated how system vulnerabilities made it possible for a total of 13 Spectre and 14 Meltdown variants to manifest into some modern computer systems. Arm takes security very seriously, and our research teams are committed to the mitigation of such vulnerabilities. As part of this work, Ilias Vougioukas has been addressing performance and security concerns in computing. In his post on hardware side channels, he details ongoing work in developing a tangible solution where isolation can coexist with performance optimizations, in the way that flushing or hard portioning fail to do.
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In this blog, part of the announcement of M-profile vector extensions (MVE) for Armv8-M, Thomas Grocutt took readers behind the scenes of a project the Arm Research team started work on many years ago. Initially, the team were asked to increase the DSP performance of Arm Cortex-M processors. Starting from scratch and working towards the goal of a 4x performance increase for only a 2x increase in data path width, our talented team went above and beyond this, beating the 4x target. Through much hard work, collaboration and determination, the team managed to succeed in their goals, managing to use MVE to turn demanding power, area and latency constraints into an advantage.
Learn more about this project
Eric Van Hensbergen, Fellow and Director of HPC Research at Arm, looks back at the Arm HPC journey so far, highlighting the next steps for research and development. Discussing the DARPA High Productivity Computing Systems (HPCS) program, it is evident that HPC has made significant progress, demonstrating the importance of the Arm ecosystem in strengthening innovation in this area. The Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) - one of Arm Research’s Centres of Excellence –, Arm and several partners are pioneering Arm-based HPC, evaluating its viability and forming a plan of action. Arm is taking a lead role in production systems, and Arm Research is beginning to look post-exascale.
Find out more about Arm-based HPC
The Internet of Things (IoT) has introduced a range of new challenges for IC designers, with devices required to perform an increasing range of different functions. To manage the range of tasks, it is becoming commonplace that integration of such components needs to occur within the chip, creating the challenge of combining these different elements as each requires its own silicon process technology. In collaboration with the University of Southampton (as part of the Arm-ECS Centre of Excellence), Arm Research has been researching the transceiver and interface circuits that could make wireless 3D integration a reality.
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Winning Best Paper at the SenSysML Workshop, Urmish Thakker, part of the Machine Learning Research group, put forward a methodology exploring ways that Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) could be efficiently deployed on constrained devices. This work explores this important class of algorithms, why RNN time-steps should be skipped and why there is opportunity to do so. The team investigated a suitable solution to skipping, focusing on encapsulating an RNN layer by using predictor logic. This can determine which elements on an input sequence need to be fed to the RNN layer. The team found a method which reduced the computation by more than 25% with a maximum of only 0.3% loss in accuracy, while still being 40 times smaller than the original RNN model.
Learn more about this work
As well as great year of discovery and ground-breaking findings, Arm Research continued its commitment to furthering innovation in academia and industry.
Barcelona Supercomputing Center and Arm Research established the Arm-BSC Centre of Excellence. It joined five universities to be our sixth Centre of Excellence, aiming to broaden the existing scope of interaction and collaboration between the two organisations. The Arm-BSC Centre focuses on a range of topics, covering everything from HPC to automotive, and scientific computing to real-time systems. With longer-term research aims of fuelling innovation and exploration in computing, we look forward to seeing more exciting work from this collaboration.
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Arm Flexible Access for Research will open a wider range of IP and tools than ever before at no charge to the academic research community. Becoming available in 2020, innovation and experimentation using Arm IP will be easier than ever before! Find out more about Arm Flexible Access for Research and how you can be part of Arm Research SoC Labs below.
Working with a wide range of partners is crucial to driving innovation at Arm, and it is no different in Arm Research. Our ongoing collaboration with Harvard University is no exception; this year, we sponsored a three-year collaboration in machine learning hardware. Working with leading ML experts Prof. David Brooks, Prof. Gu-Yeon Wei and Prof. Alexander Rush, the partnership centers around a sci-fi inspired universal translator device. The aim for this device is to demonstrate ultra-low power technologies that allow for speech recognition and translation tasks in a battery-powered device.
Read more about the collaboration
This has been another year full of incredible achievements for Arm Research, with researchers working tirelessly to further state-of-the-art industry technology, as well as increasing our commitment to the advancement of the academic research community. We look forward to the new challenges and opportunities that 2020 will bring, and hope to see you at future events we are speaking at.
This year, we will be celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Arm Research Summit. Join us at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK between 9-11 September. This year’s Summit will address global technology challenges, diving into sustainability, security and society with a program packed full of inspiring presentations, posters, workshops, demos, and plenty of networking opportunities. Find out more and register your interest on the Summit website.
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1 MIT Technology Review: 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2019 https://www.technologyreview.com/lists/technologies/2019/
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