Arm Launches 1st New Chip Architecture in a Decade, Focus on Security and AI

Bitninja

Arm has launched its new Armv9 chip architecture. These chips will be used in servers, phones, PCs and other hardware. Armv9 is the first new Arm architecture in a decade. The company’s latest chip architecture comes with enhanced security and a focus on AI (artificial intelligence).

The number of Arm-based chips shipped continues to accelerate, with more than 100 billion devices shipped over the last five years, according to the company which exploits the ARM license and develops chip designs in use by other companies. The British chip designer Arm lately reported that its silicon partners shipped a record 6.7 billion Arm-based chips in the 4th quarter of 2020.

The new capabilities in Armv9 will accelerate the move from general-purpose to more specialized compute across every application as AI, the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G gain momentum globally.

“NVIDIA sees enormous opportunities to bring the transformative powers of AI deeper into gaming, autonomous vehicles, enterprise data centers and embedded devices,” said Brian Kelleher, Senior Vice President of hardware engineering at NVIDIA. “Through our ongoing collaboration with Arm, we look forward to using Armv9 to deliver a wide range of once unimaginable computing possibilities.”

“As we look toward a future that will be defined by AI, we must lay a foundation of leading-edge compute that will be ready to address the unique challenges to come,” said Simon Segars, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Arm. “Armv9 is the answer. It will be at the forefront of the next 300 billion Arm-based chips driven by the demand for pervasive specialized, secure and powerful processing built on the economics, design freedom and accessibility of general-purpose compute.”

Security

In terms of security, Arm is putting the new Confidential Compute Architecture (CCA) into its latest chip designs. It introduces the concept of dynamically created Realms. In those Realms, code is executed in a secured and protected manner. The computations and data in such Realms are invisible to other applications, even those running on a system with high privileges.

“The increasing complexity of use cases from edge to cloud cannot be addressed with a one-size-fits-all solution,” said Henry Sanders, Corporate Vice President and CTO, Azure Edge and Platforms at Microsoft. “As a result, heterogeneous compute is becoming more ubiquitous, requiring greater synergy among hardware and software developers. A good example of this synergy between hardware and software are the ArmV9 confidential compute features which were developed in close collaboration with Microsoft. Arm is in a unique position to accelerate heterogeneous computing at the heart of an ecosystem, fostering open innovation on an architecture powering billions of devices.”

Artificial Intelligence

Photo Richard Grisenthwaite, SVP, chief architect and fellow, Arm
“Addressing the demand for more complex AI-based workloads is driving the need for more secure and specialized processing, which will be the key to unlocking new markets and opportunities,” said Richard Grisenthwaite, SVP, chief architect and fellow, Arm.

For AI, Arm builds on its collaboration with Fujitsu. Armv9 includes a new version of the Scalable Vector Extension (SVE) technology. SVE underlies the Fugaku supercomputer. It would improve processing capabilities in a range of scenarios. Among other things, the technology would accelerate machine learning and digital signal processing in a multitude of applications. This should enable more advanced machine learning workloads running locally.

“The work we’ve done with Arm has enabled us to not only build a CPU powering the world’s fastest supercomputer, but Fujitsu is also a pioneer and collaborator in helping to develop SVE,” said Naoki Shinjo, Corporate Executive Officer, SVP, Head of Platform Development Unit, Fujitsu. “In continuing our partnership over the next decade, we look forward to an ever-growing HPC ecosystem and the availability of innovative server-class platforms that will help us maintain our position as a formidable player in the market.”

Arm expects Armv9 to give the overall computing power of its chips a significant boost. Over the next two generations, the company expects its microchips to perform 30 percent better than current ones.

“Addressing the demand for more complex AI-based workloads is driving the need for more secure and specialized processing, which will be the key to unlocking new markets and opportunities,” said Richard Grisenthwaite, SVP, chief architect and fellow, Arm. “Armv9 will enable developers to build and program the trusted compute platforms of tomorrow by bridging critical gaps between hardware and software, while enabling the standardization to help our partners balance faster time-to-market and cost control alongside the ability to create their own unique solutions.”