What is Arm Helium Technology?
Arm Helium technology is the M-Profile Vector Extension (MVE) for the Arm Cortex-M processor series. Helium is an extension of the Armv8.1-M architecture and delivers a significant performance uplift for machine learning and digital signal processing applications for small, embedded devices.
Helium is an optional extension that enables higher signal processing capabilities for Armv8.1-M processors. Cortex-M55 is the first Arm processor to support this technology.
Adding over 150 new scalar and vector instructions, there are many implementation options:
- Helium option omitted – Armv8.1-M integer core with optional scalar FPU (double precision support also optional).
- Integer Helium only with optional scalar FPU (double precision support also optional).
- Integer + floating point Helium (support vectored single precision and half precision) with scalar FPU (double precision support also optional).
The integer Helium enables efficient compute of 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit fixed point data. 16-bit and 32-bit fixed point formats are widely used in traditional signal processing applications, such as audio processing. 8-bit fixed point format can be important to machine learning processing, such as neural network computation, as well as image processing.
Helium also supports floating point data types, including single precision floats (32-bit) and half precision floats (16-bit).