Graphcore moves to double unicorn status

Graphcore moves to double unicorn status

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Graphcore’s products are designed for at-scale machine learning in data centres. Founded in 2016, the Bristol-based company raised $150 million in February 2020, taking the amount raised to more than $450 million at a valuation of about $1.95 billion. Bloomberg cites two sources for the current $200m, taking the valuation over $2bn and making the company a key part of the semiconductor industry in Europe.

The company announced its second-generation ‘Colossus’ intelligent processor unit (IPU), the GC200, in July 2020. That chip is implemented in TSMC’s 7nm manufacturing process is a 59 billion transistor, 823 square millimeter IC with 1,472 computational cores and 900 Mbyte of local memories. Graphcore’s first generation IPU was implemented in TSMC’s 16nm FinFET process.

While it may be a relatively easy design process to scale such a design to make use of a more advanced manufacturing process it is expensive, with leading-edge mask sets coming in at $100 million or more. Graphcore’s additional funding therefore may be earmarked for a 5nm or 3nm iteration of its IPU architecture. TSMC says it is working with the company on 3nm technology.

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