Graphcore

A data graph that loosely resembles a planetary environment micro-dosing on LSD maps the complex inner workings of a new ‘IPU’ chip.

  • Words: Jack Needham
  • Image: Graphcore

Androids may dream of electric sheep, but inside the mind of the machine learning visualisation software ‘Poplar’, you’ll discover a blooming micro-climate of fluorescent digital neurons and coral-like computerised patterns drenched in a UV glow. Poplar was created by the Bristol-based company Graphcore, a team formed of engineers, developers and several four-legged mascot puppies.

In simple terms Poplar is a data graph, albeit an abstract one, built as a way of visualising the complex inner workings of Intelligent Processing Units (IPU) which process visual data; an MRI scanner for an artificially intelligent ‘brain’, if you will. Resembling a planetary environment micro-dosing on LSD this particular graph is a mapping of the deep learning tool ResNet 18 and the routes their IPU’s follow to communicate with themselves. Here, millions of vertices and edges have been converted to further understand, and make understandable, how machines process thought and reason in technicolour.

Article taken from
Articles

Further Reading

The Frontiers of First Aid

Combat medic LCpl Hangam Rai - who has himself narrowly escaped death in Afghanistan - takes Avaunt through the essential kit for survival on the battlefield.

Up Close: Wall of Death

The stuntmen of Allahabad, north India, risk their lives daily by riding motorbikes around vertical walls made from salvaged wood. Defying gravity through sheer momentum, they create a vertiginous, noisy whirl of action to enthrall the crowds.

North: Svalbard

A short film about how an archipelago high within the Arctic Circle became increasingly linked to developments in climate science, and climate change.

Concrete Utopia

A revelatory exhibition at New York’s MoMA displays both the vision and the volatility of Yugoslavia during the Cold War.

Matthew Alexander Henson

Matthew Henson was one of the greatest Arctic explorers of his time, yet prejudice forced him to live in obscurity.

Up Close: Blue Room

The science behind absorbing radio waves in a Radio Anechoic Chamber dates back to World War II when it first helped planes absorb or scatter radar signals. Now the technology is used by the European Space Agency among others.
Browse by Category