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Poplar® Software Stack

The world's first graph tool chain specifically designed for machine intelligence, built hand in hand with the Graphcore Intelligence Processing Unit.

Introducing Graphcore® Poplar® SDK Software

The Poplar SDK is a complete software stack, which was co-designed from scratch with the IPU, to implement Graphcore's graph toolchain in an easy to use and flexible software development environment.

At a high level, Poplar is fully integrated with standard machine learning frameworks so developers can port existing models easily, and get up and running out-of-the-box with new applications in a familiar environment.

Below these frameworks sits Poplar. For developers who want full control to exploit maximum performance from the IPU, Poplar enables direct IPU programming in Python and C++.

Poplar Framework Diagram

Multi-IPU Scaling & Communication

Poplar takes on the heavy lifting, so you don't have to, in a world of growing model sizes and complexity:

  • High bandwidth IPU-Link™ communication, fully automated and managed by Poplar, treats multiple IPUs like a single IPU compute resource
  • Graph Compile Domain (GCD) allows a single application to be programmed against multiple IPU processors, enabling both data parallel and model parallel execution
  • Model sharding allows the simple splitting of applications across multiple devices
  • Combining sharding with replication allows you to take code data parallel with minimum effort
  • Advanced model pipelining lets users extract maximum system performance to run large models fast and efficiently
Poplar Scaling Diagram
Frameworks Supported

Framework Support

Poplar seamlessly integrates with standard machine intelligence frameworks:

  • TensorFlow 1 & 2 support with full performant integration with TensorFlow XLA backend
  • PyTorch support for targeting IPU using the PyTorch ATEN backend
  • PopART™ (Poplar Advanced Runtime) for training & inference; supports Python/C++ model building plus ONNX model input
  • Full support for PaddlePaddle and other frameworks is coming soon.

PopLibs™ Graph Libraries

PopLibs is a complete set of libraries, available as open source code, that support common machine learning primitives and building blocks:

  • Over 50 optimised functions for common machine learning models
  • More than 750 high performance compute elements
  • Simple C++ graph building API
  • Implement any application
  • Full control flow support
Graphcore PopLibs
Poplar Framework Diagram

Graph Compiler

Graphcore's state of the art compiler simplifies IPU programming by handling the scheduling and work partitioning of large parallel programs including memory control:

  • Optimized execution of the entire application model to run efficiently on IPU platforms
  • Alleviates the burden on developers to manage data or model parallelism
  • Code generation using standard LLVM

Graph Engine

High performance Graph Runtime to execute models and stream data through models running on IPU:

  • Highly optimized IPU data movement
  • Interfaces to host memory system
  • Device management: configuring the IPU-Link network, loading applications to devices & performing setup
  • Debug and profiling capabilities
Graph Engine

Additional Resources


Why Graphcore in the Cloud?

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Poplar Analyst Report

Detailed technical white paper on the Poplar software stack from analyst Moor Insights & Strategy.

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