Imagination launches its first edge AI course

Introducing edge AI principles and practices through comprehensive materials and hands-on exercises

Imagination Technologies launches a new course on edge AI for undergraduate students as part of its Imagination University Program (IUP). Titled “Edge AI: Principles and Practices”, the course features a wealth of materials and hands-on exercises, enabling students to understand the fundamentals of edge AI, image and speech detection and recognition.

Robert Owen, Principal Consultant: Worldwide University Programme, Imagination, says: “Edge AI is rapidly transforming technologies across industries, bringing with it enormous potential. Following the resounding success of our RVfpga course, we wanted to further grow the toolkit available for the next generation of developers and ensure their success in a new and exciting field. We are proud to announce our Edge AI: Principles and Practices course today, which will enable students to build a strong grasp of this innovative technology that permeates industries. By focusing on real-life applications, including AI vision and speech recognition, we empower undergraduates with the right tools to build the heterogeneous SoCs of the future.”

The new IUP course is designed to give students a secure foundation in Edge AI and provide them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in this rapidly growing field. It includes both theoretical and practical elements, with labs covering edge detection, image and voice recognition, and more.

The new IUP course is created by Prof. Luis Pinuel Moreno and Prof. Francisco D. Igual, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, in collaboration with Prof. Xiaohui Duan of Peking University (China). The materials leverage deep expertise from academic staff for engaging learning exercises based on current AI technologies.

Prof. Luis Pinuel Moreno and Prof. Francisco D. Igual, Universidad Complutense de Madrid say: “Developing this course has been an exciting and extremely rewarding challenge. The needs of the modern classroom are clear, but constantly evolving hardware and software require us to be on top of the ecosystem to deliver high-quality resources and lessons for students. As such, our aim was to ensure that the course works consistently, having tested it extensively with a class full of students”.

Prof. Xiaohui Duan, Peking University China, says: “Edge AI has been a foundational course at our university for many years as students are eager to learning the skills necessary to shape the future of artificial intelligence. Our students played a key role in creating this new IUP course, and we are proud to see their projects becoming part of a set of learning materials that will be used worldwide. Their perspective and insights were essential in creating a truly compelling and accessible AI course.”

The full course is designed as eight labs with the associated handouts and supporting lecture slides plus a Getting Started Guide, which cover the fundamental algorithms and typical applications in Edge AI, following a case-study format, and fitting a typical semester-long course. All materials come with source files that can be used in their entirety. This open and flexible approach allows academic institutions to teach a fully-fledged course with the ability to customise or adapt it to fit the specific needs of each instructor.

The processor used in the course is an Imagination GPU and is linked to high level AI languages such as Tensor Flow by Imagination’s “NC-SDK-AC” Neural Compute Software Development Kit (Academic Edition). The hardware used for the course is BeagleBone® AI-64 board launched by® in 2022 and supplied through Digi-Key the global distributor.

Christine Long, CEO,® says: “We are delighted to see our close relationship with Imagination grow and thrive. Their PowerVR SGX530 GPU was in the very first BeagleBoard and the arrival of the 8XE-family GPU on our latest board adds essential capabilities, including OpenCL support. Together we are ensuring that the next generation of developers has access to the right hardware to get them started on their academic journey.”

YC Wang, Global Academic Program Manager, DigiKey, says: “DigiKey is working closely with Imagination to promote the RVfpga Workshop activity around the world. Imagination’s new EdgeAI course enables young engineers and computer science grads to grasp the potential of AI at the edge and we are excited to fully endorse it.”

Full spectrum academic support

The IUP offers a comprehensive learning toolkit, having launched two additional courses previously – “Introduction to Mobile Graphics” and “RVfpga: Understanding Computer Architecture. The first is a complete course on mobile graphics for undergraduates, including a rich set of lessons and materials focusing on Imagination’s PowerVR GPUs.

“RVfpga: Understanding Computer Architecture” is an innovative course on RISC-V computer architecture for students. Designed for undergraduates, it includes a wide range of teaching materials and practical exercises that aid students in understanding the fundamental aspects of processor architecture, such as IP cores, modifying a RISC-V core, and microarchitectures.

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