In recent years, deep neural networks (DNN) have demonstrated significant business impact in large scale analysis and classification tasks such as speech recognition, visual object detection, pattern extraction, etc. Training of large DNNs, however, is universally considered as time consuming and computationally intensive task that demands datacenter-scale computational resources recruited for many days. Here we propose a concept of resistive processing unit (RPU) devices that can potentially accelerate DNN training by orders of magnitude while using much less power. The proposed RPU device can store and update the weight values locally thus minimizing data movement during training and allowing to fully exploit the locality and the parallelism of the training algorithm. We identify the RPU device and system specifications for implementation of an accelerator chip for DNN training in a realistic CMOS-compatible technology. For large DNNs with about 1 billion weights this massively parallel RPU architecture can achieve acceleration factors of 30,000X compared to state-of-the-art microprocessors while providing power efficiency of 84,000 GigaOps/s/W. Problems that currently require days of training on a datacenter-size cluster with thousands of machines can be addressed within hours on a single RPU accelerator. A system consisted of a cluster of RPU accelerators will be able to tackle Big Data problems with trillions of parameters that is impossible to address today like, for example, natural speech recognition and translation between all world languages, real-time analytics on large streams of business and scientific data, integration and analysis of multimodal sensory data flows from massive number of IoT (Internet of Things) sensors.
Can they turn this quantum? Per Google last year: in ten years every computer will be a quantum learning AI. Googles idea seem to be to speed up neural net learning with Quantum to make SI type stuff.