The growing list of applications for artificial intelligence (AI) covers a wide area including such things as face recognition, image processing, natural language processing, military decision making, robotic control, natural language translation, data mining - the list goes on. Typically, such applications are confined to stationary data centers housing large servers and huge arrays of storage. When AI service is needed at the “edge,” close to the user or situation that will utilize AI support, it has involved communication with the AI server and its data via a network—with the inevitable latency that can compromise in-time response to real situations.
In the real world, the goal of putting more power into less space has been thwarted by heat dissipation since the first steam engines. In 1999 the Porsche car company was faced with getting more horsepower out of their air-cooled, 3-liter engine. Acknowledging that heat was their issue, Porsche moved from an air-cooled solution to a water-cooled solution, in concert with a dry oil sump injection system. This allowed Porsche to have extremely high performance for the engine size, with a nimble car that continues to have a power-to-weight ratio that still beats all comers in the market.
PCIe Gen 5 is a key technology for driving transportable or edge AI systems to higher performance, especially those with demanding space, environmental or cooling needs. But AI program managers should evaluate their technology suppliers’ Gen 5 implementations to ensure they fully realize the technology’s benefits.