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Ankara, Turkey - September 8, 2013: Man using his surface tablet at the park. Microsoft Surface is a series of tablets designed and marketed by Microsoft

Project Volterra from Microsoft and Qualcomm is the latest innovation to revolutionize the Neural Processing Unit (NPU) landscape.

Are you wondering what this project is all about and how it will impact you? This article discusses its purpose and how it can transform digital processing technologies.

Introduction to Project Volterra

Project Volterra is a joint effort between Microsoft and Qualcomm to create an AI-based, cloud-native platform for computing at the Edge. Project Volterra supports developing, deploying, and operating applications that utilize the compute and storage of both Edge devices (such as PCs, tablets and smartphones) and datacenters. It focuses mainly on neural networks that interact with the physical world—AI models for vision recognition, object detection, natural language processing (NLP) tasks like speech recognition—and decision-making systems.

Project Volterra leverages Qualcomm’s AI expertise and Azure’s cloud-native capabilities to help build applications that leverage distributed computing across heterogeneous devices such as laptops, phones or tablets to save time on tasks like image editing or video streaming. By reducing latency and power consumption while improving accuracy, this platform can create sophisticated applications that process data more efficiently than just one device can provide. Additionally, the platform will enable developers to deploy their models quickly by using prebuilt neural network templates with optimized performance.

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Mountain View, USA – March 4, 2015: Microsoft sign at the entrance of their Silicon Valley campus in Mountain View, California. One of the main buildings can be seen in the background. Oblique view.

Microsoft and Qualcomm’s Project Volterra is All About Neural Processing

Microsoft and Qualcomm are collaborating on the Project Volterra platform, a cutting-edge set of tools and services, designed to make it easier for businesses to deploy artificial intelligence and machine learning. The project is an intersection of Microsoft’s multi-cloud world and Qualcomm’s edge processing technology including 5G, AI at the edge, AI workload optimizations, enterprise security, cloud governance models, and open source AI infrastructure.

The project aims to enable customers to optimize their applications for different environments so they can get more out of their investments in networking and computing resources.

Optimizing existing technologies so customers can accomplish more with less effort is at the heart of this collaboration. Project Volterra gives enterprises an advantage because it reduces deployment complexity when working with cloud applications and after deployment support such as monitoring and maintenance. The platform combines Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google Cloud services with Qualcomm’s unique technology for accelerated neural processing (NPU) capabilities. It integrates these capabilities into one unified platform with tools that automate many manual processes associated with connecting devices to cloud applications.

What is Neural Processing?

Neural processing, or Artificial Neural Network (ANN) technology, is a machine learning algorithm based on the human brain. It uses inputs and weights to produce an output or decision. Neural processing is designed to simulate how a human brain works by analyzing data in various ways and making decisions from the data. By using neural processing, machines can learn how to recognize patterns and make more accurate decisions.

The information received by ANNs is transformed into meaningful patterns that can be used to make the machine make predictions and even control physical systems. Neural processing avoids all the limitations of static programming models. It can provide dynamic results based on input at runtime, making them ideal for data-driven scenarios such as analytics and computer vision applications.

Microsoft and Qualcomm’s Project Volterra aims to combine their AI/Machine Learning expertise with Qualcomm’s hardware capabilities and integrate neural processing into their core products such as Office 365. This will enable organizations to access powerful insights from their data using artificial intelligence services with improved accuracy, flexibility, scalability, and security.

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Benefits of Neural Processing

Neural processing offers a range of advantages, compared to traditional computing methods. For example, neural processing-based systems can operate accurately, even with noisy or incomplete data sets. This makes them ideal for more efficient and accurate decisions made by AI applications that need to process large amounts of data.

Neural processing is also less computationally intensive than traditional methods and can be readily adapted to various applications. Using fewer computational resources, the same algorithms can run faster on low-power devices such as smartphones and IoT devices with minimal power consumption.

The extreme efficiency of neural processing also allows for rapid response times in complex applications, such as auto-piloted vehicles or robots recognizing visual cues in real time. Neural networks can also learn from each training set, allowing for more complex tasks over time and greater accuracy in decision making.

Project Volterra seeks to bring these benefits to the world by making neural processing easier to deploy at scale by providing a robust framework developers can construct upon; this would enable developers to create powerful solutions faster than ever before possible so they can quickly adapt and refine the technology while maintaining an excellent user experience.

Challenges of Neural Processing

Neural processing has its challenges. Many of these challenges include the difficulty of managing and scaling massive amounts of data needed to drive deep learning services, the latency constraints that come with access to data and services when they are separately managed on public cloud and the requirement that distributed applications are secure by design. Project Volterra aims to help solve these challenges, unifying networking, compute, storage and security with a platform designed for building applications at scale across cloud-native environments.

Project Volterra caters to heavy compute workloads by creating an environment where multiple cloud providers can co-locate their infrastructure without additional maintenance. Microsoft and Qualcomm have collaborated on this project to enable a new class of neural network systems. The idea is to accelerate complex edge-AI applications, enabling users to deploy powerful ML models into production faster than ever before.

Project Volterra will also help simplify complex network topologies through single service registration – it pilots all resources belonging to an application as a single entity for better performance and scalability and improved security via policy enforcement across all resources involved in a service instance. By helping manage complexity Project Volterra is providing users an improved way of building intelligent and dynamic edge-AI applications that makes the most out of unified networking, computing power, storage services availability and secure environments.

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Potential Applications of Project Volterra

Project Volterra is Microsoft and Qualcomm’s joint venture to join artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G technology to develop edge compute applications. It has potential applications in many industries, from manufacturing and entertainment to retail, agriculture, healthcare, transportation, media, energy and beyond.

The project combines Microsoft’s cloud-native tools with Qualcomm’s 5G networks to create an edge computing environment to make instantaneous decisions based on immense amounts of real-time data. This means it can be used to create AI-powered systems that are readily available at a fraction of the cost of traditional cloud-based solutions.

Examples of potential applications for Project Volterra include intelligent video surveillance systems that could detect unusual activity in public spaces; autonomous vehicle navigation systems that use real-time traffic information; automated energy system controls that adjust dynamically according to consumer needs; smart factories powered by predictive maintenance and augmented reality systems; and retail solutions such as on-site shopping automation.

Several large companies, including Sony Mobile Communications and OPPO Electronics Corporation, have already come onboard. The collaboration seeks to build a “vibrant ecosystem of providers” who can leverage this technology for business purposes. Moreover, through machine learning and AI capabilities, the project could potentially open up new markets by providing businesses with meaningful insights from previously too arduous data sets to analyze manually.


After studying the various aspects of Project Volterra, it is clear that this is an ambitious undertaking, with Microsoft and Qualcomm working together to utilize AI and powerful processing technologies.

Project Volterra has the potential to revolutionize edge computing by offering advanced scalability and distributed computing capabilities. It provides developers a unified platform for building applications that solve complex problems using AI and other emerging technologies.

With its combination of capabilities, Project Volterra could help advance edge computing and make life easier for developers dealing with the challenges of emerging problems today.