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World's Largest Computer Chip Unveiled

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A Californian-based computer systems start-up company has unveiled what it claims to be the world's largest computer chip. The Cerebras Wafer-Scale Engine (WSE), designed by Cerebras Systems, was developed for use in complex artificial intelligence (AI) systems.

The mega chip, which is larger than a standard iPad, is 46,225 square millimeters in size, and contains more than 1.2 Trillion transistors.

WSE is 56 times larger than the largest graphics processing unit, and is capable to deliver more compute, memory, and communication bandwidth. This enables AI research at previously-impossible speeds and scale, and can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in compute time.

Dr. Andy Hock, the Director of Product Management for Cerebras Systems, said that a chip of this size is capable to deliver 400,000 AI-optimized cores.

The most powerful desktop CPU available in the digital market today has about 30 processor cores - each able to handle their own set of calculations simultaneously.

WSE's specialized memory architecture ensures each of these cores operates at maximum efficiency. It provides 18 Gigabytes of fast, on-chip memory distributed among the cores in a single-level memory hierarchy, one clock cycle away from each core.

Communication is many thousands of times faster than what is possible with off-chip technologies like InfiniBand.

Cerebras Systems was founded in 2016 to build a new type of computer optimized exclusively to meet the enormous computational demands of deep learning.

WSE was launched after almost three years of development.

The stealth-mode startup in Silicon Valley has started shipping the hardware to a few customers. The chip's cost has not been revealed.

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