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Kirin 970 a dedicated machine learning unit

This year, Huawei decided to dispense with the announcement of new devices at the IFA 2017 in Berlin. The main and in fact the only novelty was the flagship processor Kirin 970, which is expected in the upcoming Mate 10 and some models of the next year. The key difference of Kirin 970 from its predecessors and solutions of competitors is the availability of a dedicated unit of the Neural Processing Unit. That is responsible for all kinds of operations related to neural networks, machine learning, computer vision and other things.

After several years of development, cloud services have become quite widespread. But their creators are still striving to improve ease of use, including speed, stability, and protection of personal information. Cloud AI services and local applications for mobile devices can successfully complement each other. Local artificial intelligence on devices has a great potential in terms of perception of requests, which is the basis for understanding and proper execution of user commands Sensors generate a huge amount of contextual and personalized data in real time. Having received powerful chips, smartphones will become more “reasonable” and will be able to respond faster to requests, more accurately anticipating the actual needs of users.

“When we try to look into the future of smartphones, we see the approach of a new era,” says Richard Yu. “Mobile artificial intelligence is a combination of local AI systems for devices with cloud services. Huawei focuses on developing intelligent mobile devices by creating integrated solutions that integrate chips, smartphones and cloud services. The ultimate goal of this is to increase the usability of mobile devices. The Kirin 970 processor is the first in a series of new technological solutions that will bring the power of artificial intelligence to our smartphones and provide an advantage over competitors “

kirin 970

The performance of a single Neural Processing Unit is 1.92 TFlops in half precision calculations (FP16). For comparison, the 12-core graphics accelerator Mali-G72 MP12, which is part of the Kirin 970, has a capacity of about 0.6 TFlops. According to Huawei, Neural Processing Unit is 25 times more powerful and 50 times more energy efficient than traditional CPUs. Thanks to this, the Kirin 970 is able to recognize up to 2005 images per minute, while other chipsets process about 97 images.

Specifications Kirin 970:

  • Technical process: 10-nm company TSMC;
  • Core: 4 energy-efficient core Cortex-A53 with a frequency of 1.8 GHz and four high-performance cores Cortex-A73 with a frequency of 2.4 GHz;
  • Graphics: Mali-G72 MP12, which is 25% more powerful than the one that was in Kirin 960;
  • Artificial intelligence unit: Neural Processing Unit with a performance of 1.92 TFlops;
  • Camera: Dual image processor for capturing movements and better shooting quality in poor light conditions;
  • Video: Decoding 4K @ 60, encoding 4K @ 30, support HDR10;
  • Connection: Support LTE Cat. 18 with a maximum data transfer rate of up to 1.2 Gbit/s;
  • Security: Built-in Security Engine mechanism with support for TEE and inSE.


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