Some people, especially those with an eye on the tech world, may be more familiar with chips with names like Qualcomm Snapdragon, Samsung Exynos, Huawei HiSilicon Kirin or the youngest kid in the industry, Apple Silicon M1. Underlying all of this, however, is the computing architecture Arm (formerly ARM), also known as a CPU instruction set, that practically runs all mobile phones in the world, many integrated computers like those in IoT and network products. and some supercomputers. The latest version of Arm, Armv8 (ARMv8), has been in existence for almost a decade, but now the company has announced its successor which, thanks to recent market trends, is putting a greater focus on security, AI and what it calls the IT specialty .
UK-based Arm, now owned by Japan’s SoftBank Group, does not make its own processors. Instead, it licenses designs and IP to companies like Qualcomm and Apple, which then manufacture real chips for use. Regardless of this business model, the designs specified by each generation of Arm architecture practically determine what these processors will be able to do.
In terms of technical details, Arm v9 may not be as revolutionary as the v8 compared to its respective predecessors. Instead, Arm is focusing on the applications for which this new architecture will be used, which, in turn, has been informed where Arm is currently being used. In addition to phones, smart devices and the like, Arm-based processors are becoming increasingly popular in the fields of machine learning and high-performance computing.
Instead of general-purpose computing, such as what we are used to with PCs and phones, Arm is placing a greater emphasis on applications that require more specialized solutions, such as speech and image recognition that is used for AI-enabled assistants. AI and machine learning are important topics in the industry today, going beyond technology circles. Interestingly, the Arm v9 performance update was partly thanks to work done on Fujitsu’s Fugaku, the world’s fastest supercomputer that, as you may have guessed, is based on Arm.
With the increased use of Arm in all parts of the digital life, there is also an even greater need for security. Arm’s new Confidential Compute Architecture (CCA) also introduces the concept of dynamically created Realms that can run outside of secure and non-secure software. This would attract business customers who need to protect sensitive data and codes in all states and at all times.