Now we know why Microsoft's HoloLens augmented-reality goggles are so cool. Turns out they run on a superpowerful 24-core processor that can perform a trillion operations per second.
Microsoft revealed the details of the chip, which it calls a Holographic Processing Unit, on Monday at the HotChips conference in Cupertino, California. The HPU is a custom-designed chip with a 28nm processor that has 24 cores. To put this in perspective, the processor in a typical consumer computer has 8 cores at most. What's more, the HPU has some 65 million logic gates, 8MB of SRAM cache memory and a layer of 1GB of DDR3 RAM on top. Yet the package measures only 12mm by 12mm.
The HPU handles all the environment sensing and other input and output necessary for the goggles. It also aggregates data from sensors and processes the wearer's gestures. During operation, each of the HPU's cores is given a particular task to focus on.
The HoloLens also includes a low-power system-on-chip that runs Windows 10 and works with the HPU to deliver the augmented reality. With that in mind, next time you enjoy the goggles, appreciate the fact that you're literally wearing a supercomputer on your face.