Habana Labs Begins Preparing For Future ASIC Support In Their Linux Driver
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 25 November 2019 at 01:23 AM EST. Add A Comment
LINUX KERNEL --
With the Linux 5.5 kernel now in development the Habana Labs AI startup is preparing for supporting future chips with their open-source Linux kernel driver.

Habana is the company that has been building special-purpose chips for AI training and inference. Their "Goya" AI inference chip is supported by their initial Linux driver code and offers compelling performance over CPUs/GPUs for inference. Habana Labs mainlined their AI accelerator driver for the Goya chip earlier this year in Linux 5.1.

They've continued improving the Habana Labs accelerator driver with succeeding kernel updates and now with the Linux 5.5 merge window they have begun preparations around "future ASIC" support.

The changes sent in feature some general driver improvements around the MMU code and other areas, but also with several items referencing "future ASIC support."

The Git commits do not elaborate on what that future chip is, but presumably it's the Habana Gaudi support. The Habana Gaudi AI training chip has been known while most of the open-source driver efforts to date have been focused on their AI inference chip, Goya. They previously indicated Gaudi would be brought up with this open-source driver too, but a bit surprising they didn't outright acknowledge the work as Gaudi in this latest development work... So perhaps it's also with their eye on something else.

The Git staged work doesn't reveal any juicy details from my digging around, but it will certainly be interesting to see what hardware pursuits this AI startup has in 2020.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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