AI/ML toolkit jump starts development of ICs

May 28, 2019 //By Rich Pell
Mentor Graphics introduces AI/ML toolkit for smarter designs
Mentor Graphics (Wilsonville, OR) has announced an artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) development kit and added AI/ML enhancements to other tools to help designers develop AI/ML-powered ICs.

The new Catapult software high-level synthesis (HLS) AI Toolkit and HLS ecosystem, says the company, are designed to help customers jump-start the development of complex machine learning IC architectures. The company also announced that it is adding AI/ML infrastructure throughout its Calibre platform, and is launching the first two of these AI/ML-powered technologies - Calibre Machine Learning OPC (mlOPC) and Calibre LFD with Machine Learning - which leverage machine learning software for faster, more accurate results.

"It's becoming evident that a vast majority of products being developed for the foreseeable future will incorporate AI/ML in some capacity – what's smart today will become smarter with AI/ML," says Joe Sawicki, executive vice president of IC EDA for Mentor, a Siemens business. "Mentor is committed to developing solutions with functionality that will help our customers more easily integrate AI/ML into their products."

"In addition," says Sawicki, "Mentor is incorporating adaptive machine learning into our own tools, and as a result customers are seeing vast improvements in runtimes and accuracy, which in turn further enable our customers to deliver their smarter, AI/ML-powered technologies to market faster."

The Catapult HLS AI Toolkit is designed to help Mentor users developing AI/ML-based accelerators for edge applications get to market faster. Based in easy-to-use HLS C++, the toolkit provides an object detection reference design and IP to help designers quickly find optimal power, performance and area implementations for neural network accelerator engines – a task not possible with hand-coded register-transfer level (RTL) designs.

The solution also includes a complete setup to build an AI/ML demonstrator platform, with live HDMI feed on an FPGA prototyping board. The toolkit, says the company, is a key component of an expanding Catapult HLS ecosystem for AI/ML applications, which also includes open-source HLS IP, TensorFlow integration, easy system integration with interconnect that implements the Arm AMBA 4 AXI interface, and HLS On-Demand training and consulting.

The new AI/ML-powered Calibre tools include Calibre

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