What Google's AI-designed chip tells us about the nature of intelligence


In a paper published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature last week, scientists at Google Brain introduced a deep reinforcement learning technique for floorplanning, the process of arranging the placement of different components of computer chips. The researchers managed to use the reinforcement learning technique to design the next generation of Tensor Processing Units, Google's specialized artificial intelligence processors. The use of software in chip design is not new. But according to the Google researchers, the new reinforcement learning model "automatically generates chip floorplans that are superior or comparable to those produced by humans in all key metrics, including power consumption, performance and chip area." And it does it in a fraction of the time it would take a human to do so. The AI's superiority to human performance has drawn a lot of attention.

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