Syntiant's NDP200 Promises 6.4GOP/s of Edge AI Compute in a Tiny 1mW Power Envelope

Successor to the NDP120 adds an 11-wire image interface, promises impressive runtimes for battery-powered edge AI workloads.

Syntiant has announced the NDP200, a "neural decision processor" based around the company's Core 2 technology, with the promise of high-performance inference at the edge — in a sub-1mW power envelope.

"Our NDP200 brings extraordinary inference capabilities to a wide variety of always-on image and sensor applications," claims Kurt Busch, Syntiant chief executive, of the new part. "Our Core 2 architecture minimizes data movement by coupling memory and MAC functions that generally provides 100x improvement in efficiency and performance. As an example, an application that lasts three and a half days on a battery-powered device using an Arm [Cortex-]A53 processor would last one year running on the NDP200.”

The chip, designed for edge AI work, includes Syntiant's Core 2 neural network processor alongside an Arm Cortex-M0+ core and a HiFi-3 digital signal processor (DSP), and offers a claimed performance of 6.4 giga-operations per second (GOP/s). It's compatible with convolutional, recurrent, and fully-connected networks with more than seven million parameters and can run multiple different networks simultaneously.

Other features of the chip includes SPI, I2C, I2S, and dual PDM interfaces for external sensors, an 11-wire direct image interface, support for decryption and authentication of cryptographically-protected firmware, and the ability to run inference while drawing less than 1mW of power.

Syntiant is positioning the part for battery-powered edge AI tasks including person detection, object classification, motion tracking, occupancy monitoring, voice control, acoustic event detection, infrared monitoring, anomaly and tamper detection, and "other audio, motion, and pressure sensing applications."

The new part follows on from the company's first neural decision processor design, which celebrated its millionth shipment last year. Its successor, the NDP120 promised a 25x performance boost using the same Core 2 architecture as found in the company's latest NDP200.

The NDP200 is sampling now, with volume shipments expected to start later this year with a $10-per-chip price in 10,000-unit tray quantities — a $4 premium over the NDP120. More information is available on the company's product page.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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