An in-depth look at Google’s first Tensor Processing Unit (TPU)

There’s a common thread that connects Google services such as Google Search, Street View, Google Photos and Google Translate: they all use Google’s Tensor Processing Unit, or TPU, to accelerate their neural network computations behind the scenes.

Google’s first Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) on a printed circuit board (left); TPUs deployed in a Google datacenter (right)

Google announced the TPU last year and recently followed up with a detailed study of its performance and architecture. In short, we found that the TPU delivered 15–30X higher performance and 30–80X higher performance-per-watt than contemporary CPUs and GPUs. These advantages help many of Google’s services run state-of-the-art neural networks at scale and at an affordable cost. In this post, we’ll take an in-depth look at the technology inside the Google TPU and discuss how it delivers such outstanding performance.

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