The OPTIMO chip is 4.77 times as power efficient and 4.18 times as fast compared to a GPU running the algorithm
It uses an algorithm called alternating direction method of multipliers, or ADMM, which solves enormous optimization problems by breaking them up and then reaching a solution over several iterations.
The test chip was made up of a grid of 49 “optimization processing units,” cores designed to perform ADMM and containing their own high-bandwidth memory. The units were connected to each other in a way that speeds ADMM. Portions of data are distributed to each unit, and they set about solving their individual subproblems. Their results are then gathered, and the data is adjusted and resent to the optimization units to perform the next iteration. The network that connects the 49 units is specifically designed to speed this gather and scatter process.