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Syntiant Introduces Second Generation NDP120 Deep Learning Processor for Audio and Sensor Apps

Low-Power Syntiant Core 2 Delivers 25x Tensor Throughput Without Extensive Post-training Compilation

Irvine, Calif., January 6, 2021 – Syntiant Corp., a deep learning chip technology company advancing AI pervasiveness in edge devices, today announced the availability of its Syntiant® NDP120™ Neural Decision Processor™ (NDP), the latest generation of special purpose chips for audio and sensor processing for always-on applications in battery-powered devices.

The NDP120 applies neural processing to run multiple applications simultaneously with minimal battery power consumption, including echo-cancellation, beamforming, noise suppression, speech enhancement, speaker identification, keyword spotting, multiple wake words, event detection, and local commands recognition.

The Syntiant® NDP120™ Neural Decision Processor™ applies neural processing to run multiple applications simultaneously with minimal battery power consumption.

“The NDP120 is the first of a family of semiconductors using our next generation Syntiant Core 2 tensor processor platform that brings performance levels previously found in plugged-in devices to a power level suitable to run on batteries,” said Kurt Busch, CEO of Syntiant. “We took years of real world, low-power edge deep learning experience to develop this architecture into a scalable design optimized to bring neural processing to power constrained deployments.”

“Syntiant's innovation around powerful, cost-effective, and yet power-efficient embedded silicon systems that bring machine learning capabilities right to the edge has been fascinating,” said Arun Rajasekaran, head of technology strategy, wearables and sensors at Poly, a global communications company. “By optimizing its silicon for its deep learning models, Syntiant is making neural processing the pervasive technology to interface between people and machines.”

Syntiant’s NDP120 brings always-on neural processing to all types of consumer products, including mobile phones, earbuds, wearables, smart speakers, laptops, smart home applications and security devices. Ideal for use cases where audio filtering and echo cancelation are required for far-field speech processing, the NDP120 packages the Syntiant Core 2™, a highly flexible, ultra-low-power deep neural network inference engine, with a highly configurable audio front-end interface. The NDP120 also supports multi-modal sensor fusion, including sensors for infrared detection, multi-axis acceleration, tilt, magnetic field, and pressure.

“BraveHeart stands apart in the world of medical sensor applications because we have included Syntiant’s ultra-low-power chip architecture in our design,” said Stuart MacEachern, co-founder, VP of hardware engineering at BraveHeart Wireless Inc., a leading innovator in clinical-quality biometric wearables. “BraveHeart's applications and partners benefit from this powerful AI edge computing. We are able to offer greater functionality in our devices and be free from the cloud during processing which improves user privacy and security. The NDP120 delivers powerful processing at under one milliwatt, which translates to little strain on our battery consumption."

An Easy-to-Use Powerful Neural Network

The Syntiant Core 2 moves larger neural networks into always-on domains with capacity to generate shared embeddings, run ensembles, and other neural architectures concurrently or in cascades. The Syntiant Core 2 is a tensor processing core built from the ground up to support energy efficient inference without compromising ease of programming. This second generation architecture delivers 25x the tensor throughput of the Syntiant Core 1™ found in the Syntiant® NDP100™ and Syntiant® NDP101™ devices that are currently shipping in high volumes.

Graph Native:

The Syntiant Core 2 is built around a highly optimized tensor-based memory and processing system designed to avoid inefficiencies in stored program architectures. Each layer independently controls its parameter, input, and output tensors consistent with graph-based execution, enabling neural designers with full control of multiple concurrent independent networks, or swapping network configurations depending on operating conditions.

Framework Support:

The Syntiant Core 2 training development kit includes tools for running bit-exact simulations directly within high-level modeling languages, such as Tensorflow and Keras. All major frameworks can port to the Syntiant Core 2 runtime, including native support for multiple types of convolutional kernels, kernel striding, kernel dilation, downsampling layers, fully connected layers, pointwise operations, and a variety of activations.

Compression When You Want It:

The evolving practice of neural compression is natively supported by the Syntiant Core 2. Network architectures can mix 1-, 2-, 4-, and 8-bit weights and higher precision bias terms. For the most challenging tasks, the Syntiant Core 2 supports high precision modes, including 16-bit inputs and outputs. Quantize inference when wanted, but not just because the edge processor requires it.

Secret Sauce:

The Syntiant Core 2 supports a variety of task-dependent under the hood optimizations for sparsity and time series that speed up inference and reduce power requirements without extensive post-training network optimization. With design tools supplied by Syntiant, it is possible to explore the complete power, latency, memory, and parameter requirements on the Syntiant Core 2 interactively, and perform large scale hardware-aware hyperparameter searches with the same tools. The Syntiant Core 2 can shorten time-to-product by months or years as compared to more constrained and power-intensive solutions.

“Syntiant’s highly configurable deep neural network provides enormous flexibility for low-power audio applications and feature extraction,” said Clark Peng, vice president, head of product management at MSI, a world leader in gaming. “The NDP120’s programmable DSP combined with its highly accurate inference engine are ideal for creating high performance voice command applications that can run across both traditional and machine learning algorithms.”

Special Purpose Silicon Designed to Run Multiple DNNs

The NDP120 is equipped with an Arm Cortex M0 Processor and a HiFi-3 DSP. The NDP120’s embedded Syntiant Core 2 supports more than 7 million parameters and can process multiple concurrent heterogeneous networks.

Key features of the NDP120:

  • Syntiant Core 2 neural processor

  • Support for up to 7 audio streams

  • I2S/TDM output audio interface for streaming audio output, including post-processed audio

  • Embedded user programmable HiFi-3 DSP

  • Deeply embedded Arm Cortex M0 microcontroller for device management with 48KB SRAM, dual-timers, and UART functionality

  • Stand-alone operation

  • Quad SPI target and controller interface

  • I2C serial interface for sensor applications and system interface

  • Up to 26 GPIO pins

  • Flexible clock generation

  • Onboard firmware decryption and authentication

  • 3.1 mm x 2.5 mm 42-ball WLBGA package (0.4 mm ball pitch)

The Syntiant NDP120 is sampling now and will be shipping in production volumes in summer 2021. Pricing for 10Ku quantities is $6 per unit. For more information about the NDP120, contact

About Syntiant

Founded in 2017 and headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Syntiant Corp. is moving artificial intelligence and machine learning from the cloud to edge devices. Syntiant’s advanced chip solutions merge deep learning with semiconductor design to produce ultra-low-power, high performance, deep neural network processors for always-on applications in battery-powered devices, such as smartphones, smart speakers, earbuds, hearing aids and laptops. The company is backed by several of the world’s leading strategic and financial investors including Intel Capital, Microsoft’s M12, Applied Ventures, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, the Amazon Alexa Fund and Atlantic Bridge Capital. Syntiant continues to be recognized as an industry leader, being named to Gartner's April 2020 Cool Vendors in AI Semiconductors; Fast Company’s prestigious list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2020; The Linley Group’s 2019 Analysts’ Choice Award in the Best Embedded Processor category; as well as a CES® 2020 Best of Innovation Awards Honoree. More information on the company can be found by visiting or by following Syntiant on Twitter @Syntiantcorp.

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George Medici



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