Deep Learning now becomes available in a USB stick

The Fathom Neural Compute Stick provides neural network capability for the masses.

The fact that deep learning vide neural networks needn’t be exclusive to a massive data centre.

Chips from Movidius have in fact made that crystal clear: their utilization in the DJI’s latest drones which can navigate while avoiding obstacles and in FLIR’s new thermal camera, which can automatically recognize humans trapped in a fire, are proof of that. Furthermore, it has also signed a contract with Google, which will integrate its chip in a yet-to-be-announced products.

In a move that will immensely benefit consumers, the chip designer has now said will bring the capacity of deep learning to the masses through its USB accessory called the Fathom Neural Compute Stick.

The USB stick houses a Myriad 2 MA2450 VPU, which has been paired with a 512MB of LPDDR3 RAM. The Myriad 2 has earlier been deployed in the DJ1 and FLIR products, mentioned above.

The beauty of the Fathom Neural Compute Stick is that it can handle multiple simultaneous process at the same time, which is typical of neural networks. Unlike the architecture seen in CPUs and/or in GPUs which require a heavy power supply, the Fathom Neural Compute Stick, has comparatively much lower power requirements. It routinely handles 150 gigaFLOPS while consuming a mere 1.2 watts.

The Artificial Intelligence community has responded positively with this development. As per Dr. Yann LeCunn, the Director of Artificial Intelligence in Facebook, “been hoping for a long time that something like Fathom would become available … With Fathom, every robot, big and small, can now have state-of-the-art vision capabilities.”

Pete Warden, Google’s AI Technical Lead said “Fathom goes a long way towards helping tune and run these complex neural networks inside devices.”

Although the Fathom Neural Compute Stick has already been made available to some organisations, it will be available for retail sales sometime this winter. Although, there’s no firm call on its pricing, it is expected to retail for less than $100.

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