Apple, one of the world's largest technology companies, recently filed a patent, US20230267168A1, for a device that is essentially a super intelligent calculator deep within our computers. This invention can carry out various operations with lists of numbers, otherwise known as "vectors", based on specific commands saved in the computer's memory. This nifty piece of technology works by following rules to determine which numbers to use and how to operate on them, and then delivering the results.
The main problem being addressed here is the current over-reliance on the central processing unit (CPU) and its main memory to execute machine learning models. These models are essentially a series of instructions telling the program how to learn from and respond to data. But each model is set up differently, taking into account the data type, the operations to be performed, the number of channels in the input data, kernel data, non-linear functions applied, and post-processing operations.
The present system of running everything on the CPU puts too much stress on this unit and also results in high power usage. Now, using software updates, machine learning models can be set up easily. But running these models solely on the CPU consumes a significant amount of its bandwidth and also increases power consumption.
Apple's new patent offers a solution for this problem. It proposes an accelerator circuit that can perform complex mathematical operations without putting unnecessary strain on the CPU. This could mark a significant step forward in dealing with the issues of CPU overload and power consumption, making computing processes more efficient and sustainable.
So, what does this mean for ordinary people like you and me? Imagine being able to run all your applications, browse multiple tabs, stream videos, and even carry out heavy-duty editing or gaming on your computer all at once without it overheating or slowing down.
Our world would undoubtedly look more productive and efficient. We could do more tasks with fewer constraints. Whether it's scientists carrying out complex data analyses for groundbreaking research or film editors rendering high-definition videos for the next box office hit — everyone stands to gain from this advancement.
However, it's important to remember that this is still a patent — a blueprint for what might be possible in the future. There's no absolute guarantee that this technology will be available in the market anytime soon. As exciting as this might sound, all we can do for now is wait and hope that this invention moves from being a patent to a real, market-ready solution.
P.S. This article is based on a patent disclosure, which means the invention it describes is still in its conceptual phase. As such, there’s no certainty that it will make it to real-world production or when that might happen if it ever does. So, while this technology may appear promising, it's best to wait for official announcements.