Dolphin Design, a provider of semiconductor IP platforms – functional bricks licensed to system-on-chip designers – with more than 600 customers worldwide, announces its attendance to CES, January 5 to 8. The company will participate at CES-Unveiled together with 150 selected companies invited to share a preview of their offerings to accredited journalists. On the CEA booth – in the space dedicated to start-ups, Eureka Park, booth #60655 – Dolphin Design will demonstrate its SPEED IP design platform, a disruptive innovation to combine ultimate energy efficiency with embedded artificial intelligence (AI) at the edge.
Artist’s view of the CEA booth #60655 at CES 2022. Credits: CEA
CES, a springboard to promote SPEED, our turnkey IP design platform to enable the design of “Edge AI” systems-on-chip with unprecedented level of energy efficiency
The exponential growth of needs for greater device interoperability, predictability and performances is challenged by the global need for more energy frugality.
The solution to deal with data deluge, while preventing the increase of power consumed by data centers, is known as Edge AI. This solution consists in transferring part of the processing intelligence from the cloud to the sensor or close to it. It translates into an unprecedented need to increase performances of “smart sensors” or “smart devices” by a factor of 1,000 at constant energy consumption.
Dolphin Design is positioned as THE provider of solutions for Edge AI System-on-Chip designers.
Philippe Berger, CEO of Dolphin Design, describes the company’s offering and positioning: “We deliver turnkey solutions to integrated circuit designers, also called system-on-chip, in the form of silicon IP platforms with their software utilities. Our ambition is to reconcile technological developments with the preservation of our planet’s resources!
Dolphin Design offers two main kinds of technologies to achieve this goal:
- Innovative silicon IPs to deal energy efficiently with power distribution in the integrated circuits. They allow a reduction of power consumption by up to 10 times, which can even go up 20 times with FDSOI technologies, as compared to conventional solutions.
- Advanced processing solutions for Edge AI that eliminate data transfer bottlenecks, with parallel core architectures for instance, to increase drastically energy efficiency through reduction of clock frequency and of operation voltages. This offering covers processor IPs specialized for artificial intelligence and MCU subsystems that allow peripherals to operate autonomously, i.e. capable of operating without a processor.
The combination of these solutions allows up to 100 times extra savings.”
Such IP design platforms are branded under the umbrella name of “SPEED”, which stands for System Platforms for Energy Efficient Design.
SPEED provides an unmatched solution to design intelligent electronic devices that must increase their computing power by a factor of 1,000 (i.e. up to hundreds of GOPs, billion operations per second). Such devices are either battery-powered or need to deal with constraints implied by the increase of power consumption – e.g. heat dissipation challenge –, hence the need to deal with increased performances within the same power budget.
SPIDER, BAT, CHAMELEON, PANTHER and RAPTOR, the 5 SPEED platforms by Dolphin Design
Vincent Huard, CTO & Director of Audio & Processing Product Lines at Dolphin Design says, “Our SPEED offering consists in 5 IP design platforms: BAT for audio processing, SPIDER for power management, CHAMELEON for microcontroller MCU subsystems, RAPTOR for neural processing unit, and PANTHER for multi-core general purpose DSPs. These SPEED platforms allow to intelligently combine fine-grained adaptive power management with appropriate hardware accelerators to address energy efficiency challenges of next generation of smart devices.
RAPTOR, a key component of SPEED, was made possible by the combined strengths of Dolphin Design and CEA-List. This innovative neural processing unit, that leverages PNeuro® AI hardware and CEA-List’s N2D2 /SESAM tools, offers the best compromise between software flexibility, energy efficiency and peak performances to empower Edge AI devices.”
PANTHER, our DSP IP platform, is enabled through an intensive R&D partnership with PULP platform teams from ETH Zürich and Universita of Bologna.
What differentiates Dolphin’s offering from that of its competitors is that its SPEED platforms allow any IC designer to achieve performance levels that were previously only accessible through cloud or GPU-based systems. The capabilities of the SPEED platforms are proven by Dolphin Design with VEP, a demonstrator of a product-like Edge AI semiconductor device.
A demonstration based on VEP will be previewed at CES. It will demonstrate the capabilities of SPEED in AI and energy efficiency, proven through the TinyML benchmark around a scenario combining contactless smart lock with remote access authorization.
At CES 2022, Dolphin Design will demonstrate ultimate energy-efficiency through its VEP silicon demonstrator based on a smart door scenario incorporating “contactless”. Credits: Dolphin Design
A launch that has already begun with very positive market feedbacks.
First silicon IP platforms were introduced to the market a few years ago. Their adoption has been worldwide, whether in Europe, Asia or the United States. Systems-on-Chip taking advantage of SPEED platforms are already present in many of our everyday objects such as smartwatches, wireless headsets, cell phones, etc.
All companies designing integrated circuits or System-on-Chip that are looking to improve their energy efficiency can benefit from Dolphin Design’s turnkey solutions.
Frederic Renoux, Executive Vice President for Sales at Dolphin Design, explains: “The market launch is taking place in successive stages, following the path of the many integrated circuits launched in recent years to offer ever greater performances while consuming lesser power. Several start-ups are already integrating our fine power management SPIDER IP platform turning their SoC into the most efficient microcontrollers on the market. Major players, established for many years in the semiconductor market, are also users of our solutions, even if these companies wish to keep the nature of their cooperation with our company confidential. Our strength lies in our ability to offer a complete turnkey solution that meets the specific needs of each of our customers and in our close cooperation within the semiconductor ecosystem, starting with silicon foundries.
The introduction of our silicon IP platforms is part of an overall roadmap that addresses the growing needs for energy efficiency improvement of integrated circuits. The articulation of our SPEED IP platforms is simple: it aims to address each of the issues related to the energy efficiency of Edge AI SoCs, such as voice data acquisition (BAT), sensor data management (CHAMELEON) and processing (RAPTOR, PANTHER) all together with a power management IP platform to supply efficiently all kinds of functions embedded in the SoC (SPIDER).
Eric Benoit, Director of Marketing & Business Development at Dolphin Design adds: “Over the past two years we have reached a market leadership with our silicon IPs for power management and for voice and audio converters. With the launch of these breakthrough silicon IP platforms for signal processing and AI, we are consistently enriching our offering for Edge AI. The coming step for us is the introduction of silicon IP design platforms that addresses energy efficiency challenges of applications such as augmented and virtual reality, V2X connected cars, Industry 4.0 and Smart Cities. Our SPEED offering positions us as an unique provider of turnkey solutions that anticipate the expectations of designers of AI-enabled integrated circuits. Our goal is quite straight-forward, to help our user reach the best competitive advantages in an already highly competitive market estimated to be worth $78 billion by 2026.
SPEED, an offering labelled by the Solar Impulse Foundation for its energy efficiency
Market surveys forecast that 75% of data will be processed on Edge devices instead of data centers by 2025. AI-based Edge computing, ideal for use in conjunction with cloud computing, can reduce data transmission by a factor of 20 and thus reduce transmission and processing costs by two-thirds. Dolphin Design’s unique know-how in improving energy efficiency has earned the honor of being one of the 1,000 companies worldwide to receive the Solar Impulse label.