Ascenium raises $16m for next generation software defined processor

Ascenium raises $16m for next generation software defined processor
Business news |
Ascenium raises $16m (€13.5m) to recruit talent and commercialize its Aptos software defined processor architecture and compiler technology for data centre computing
By Nick Flaherty


US-Norwegian processor startup Ascenium has raised $16m (€13.5m) for a new type of software defined general-purpose architecture for data centre applications.

The $16m Series A investment comes from Ascenium Holding AS, a private investment holding company in Stavanger, Norway and brings the total investment to $25m. The cash will be used to grow its teams in California, Stavaner and Oslo, Norway for the chip and compiler development.

Ascenium is led by Pete Foley, who previously co-founded Wave Computing which took a similar approach to data flow processing for AI. Blaize has a similar approach, again for, AI where the processor elements are configured by a sophisticated compiler.

Ascenium’s Aptos architecture is instead aimed at software configurable general purpose processing to reduce the power consumption in the data centre and at the same time provide the highest single threaded, single core performace. Ascenium holds nine granted patents and has filed six provisional patents covering all aspects of the Aptos hardware and software.

The company was founded in June 2019 after more than a decade of basic research into using modern LLVM compiler technology to directly control a simple array of compute elements to provide flexibility and high performance at low power by exploiting the parallelism available in standard high level programming languages. The Aptos microarchitecture continuously physically evolves under direct compiler control to optimally implement the functions of the program.

Several startups are pursuing similar architectural approaches, but the efficiency and reliability of the compiler remains an issue, and the backing will help boost the Ascentium compiler team.

“We’re grateful that our technical innovation and progress in meeting our business milestones have excited and emboldened our investors,” said Pete Foley, CEO of Ascenium. “This capital infusion enables us to expand our team and accelerate our next stage of development — bringing our industry-changing low-power, high-performance Aptos processor to the market.”

“We believe that Aptos technology with its radical new approach represents a quantum leap for general-purpose computing, both for general performance but in particular the amount of compute work done per unit of energy,” said Espen Fjogstad, CEO of Ascenium Holding and chairman of Stavanger Venture AS.

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