Qualcomm Posts "QAIC" DRM Accelerator Driver For Linux
Qualcomm engineers today posted a set of 14 patches for implementing the Qualcomm Cloud AI Accelerator support in the form of a Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver. Linux DRM drivers are traditionally for GPUs but they have a lot in common with AI/accelerator hardware and is why there are now several accelerator cards aiming at DRM subsystem usage. It also feeds back into the debate whether the Linux kernel needs an accelerator subsystem or should just live within the DRM area. Qualcomm's 2020 driver attempt was just aiming for char/misc.
This QAIC DRM driver is designed to support Qualcomm Cloud AI accelerator PCIe card for deep learning inference workloads. This driver initially targets the Cloud AI 100 / AIC100 and SA9000P hardware, with the latter being part of Snapdragon Ride products. Multiple Qualcomm Cloud AI cards can be used in tandem for greater performance.
The initial "request for comments" patches for this new Qualcomm AI Accelerator Linux kernel driver can be found on the dri-devel mailing list. As of writing I haven't yet seen any new open-source user-space patches for the Qualcomm AI 100 stack with there needing to be an open-source user-space component too if this driver hopes to be mainlined.
The Qualcomm Cloud AI 100 offers up to 16 AI cores, 144MB of on-die SRAM, is manufactured on a 7nm process, and the PCIe cards support PCIe 4.0 x8. The PCIe cards are rated for 400 TOPS at a 75 Watt TDP..