Tensor Processing Unit

What Does Tensor Processing Unit Mean?

A tensor processing unit (TPU) is a proprietary type of processor designed by Google in 2016 for use with neural networks and in machine learning projects. Experts talk about these TPU processors as helping to achieve larger amounts of low-level processing simultaneously.


Techopedia Explains Tensor Processing Unit

Starting out with an 8-bit setup running on CISC instructions, Google eventually upped the memory and bandwidth of these items to achieve new kinds of performance. Experts also point out that Google uses a mix-and-match system – rather than using tensor processing units exclusively, the company still promotes the use of CPUs and other resources along with the TPU.

“We're extremely excited about these new TPUs and want to share them with the world so that everyone can access their benefits,” reads part of an announcement to bring second-generation TPUs to Google Cloud. By offering the functionality of TPUs as part of a proprietary system, Google is able to keep control of the TPUs and still offer use to clients.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…