This processor can detect bank fraud in real time

Aimed at the world of finance, IBM’s Telum is a processor that runs AI algorithms directly in the core of chips to reduce latency and secure data. This architecture enables fraud to be detected right at the moment it is committed.

There are general-purpose processors, those dedicated to games and graphics display, or those designed for supercomputers. There are also those specifically dedicated to the world of finance. It is for this sector that IBM has specially designed the Telum. Unveiled at the annual Hot Chips conference held in Silicon Valley in the United States, this chip, which IBM has been working on for the past three years, is powered by AI. In addition to managing transactions, it is designed to block any attempt at fraud in real time. The Telum is based on a 16-core chip, with 22 billion transistors, all of which are engraved in 7 nm, compared with 14 previously. Thirty-two of these chips, containing 512 cores and 8 GB of cache memory, are assembled on a mainframe to form the processor.

For finance, it is not the computing power that counts, but rather the latency reduction and security. This last criterion is the strong point of the Telum, since the entire data transport circuit is encrypted. In terms of latency, the Telum – which means “javelin” in Latin – can carry out tens of thousands of banking transactions every second.

Minimum latency and maximum security

To support and accelerate these missions, a coprocessor driven by an AI is at the controls of each chip. It avoids wasting time by processing the data locally and without moving it to enhance security. To achieve this, each core has 32 MB of cache (L2). We find cumulated 256 GB of L3 cache and 2 GB of L4 cache. It is partly thanks to this arsenal of memory that the magic of real time can take place.

It is therefore mainly in terms of its particular architecture that the IBM chip differs from everything else on the processor market. And that’s why this chip should give hackers a hard time. At IBM, we call this architecture Z because it is reserved only for confidential customers. Customers who want to carry out 100,000 transactions per second, while keeping latency below one millisecond for security control.

It must be said that in terms of fraud, the year 2020 was a hecatomb for the financial sector. They amounted to more than $3.3 billion, compared to $1.8 billion in 2019. IBM and its customers are counting heavily on Telum to reduce the bill. The manufacturer is banking on the first half of 2022 to market its first Z system, based on this Telum.