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A vision processing unit (VPU) is a type of microprocessor aimed at accelerating machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies. It is a specialized processor that is made to support tasks like image processing, one of several specialized chips such as the GPU that are generally useful in machine learning.
The vision processing unit is in some ways similar to a video processing unit which is used with convolutional neural networks. Where a video processing unit is a specific type of graphics processing, the vision processing unit is described as more suitable for running different types of machine vision algorithms – these tools may be built with specific resources for getting visual data from cameras – they are built for parallel processing. Like video processing units, they are particularly geared toward image processing. Some of these tools are described as “low power and high performance” and may be plugged into interfaces that allow for programmable use. Other aspects of the build can vary due to manufacturer and design choices.