InspireSemi, imec tape out RISC-V AI chip with 1536 cores

InspireSemi, imec tape out RISC-V AI chip with 1536 cores

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

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US startup Inspire Semiconductor has worked with Belgian research lab imec to tape out a chip design with 1,536 64bit custom RISC-V CPU cores with a low latency interconnect.

The 24TOPS RISC-V Thunderbird 1 chip from InspireSemi is being fabricated at TSMC and four of the chips will be used on a PCIe server card that supports double precision 64bit FP64 calculations.

It is aimed at High Performance Computing (HPC), AI, graph analytics, and other compute-intensive workloads. Arrays of up to 256 Thunderbird chips can be connected together vial high speed SERDES transceivers.

The company also works with Scottish software specialist CodePlay, an Intel company, and with chip designer GUC in Taiwan.

Compared to a modern datacentre GPU, Thunderbird provides all the raw computational power with far broader application to real world HPC software applications and codes says InspireSemi, based in Austin, Texas. The CPU approach and PCIe card are also suitable for large graph analytics workloads, which are used in applications such as fraud detection, anti-money laundering, anti-terrorism, pharma clinical trials, and supply chain management.

“We are proud of the accomplishment of our engineering and operations team to finish the Thunderbird I design and submit it to our supply chain partners, TSMC, ASE, and imec for production.  We expect to begin customer deliveries in the fourth quarter,” said Ron Van Dell, CEO of InspireSemi.

“This is a major milestone for our company and an exciting time to be bringing this versatile accelerated computing solution to market. Thunderbird accelerates many critical applications in important industries that other approaches do not, including life sciences, genomics, medical devices, climate change research, and applications that require deep simulation and modelling,” said Alex Gray, Founder, CTO and President of InspireSemi.


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