Secure RISC-V accelerator startup VyperCore raises £4 million

Secure RISC-V accelerator startup VyperCore raises £4 million

Technology News |
By Peter Clarke

VyperCore Ltd. (Bristol, England), a startup with plans to develop novel processor technology, has raised £4 million (about US$5 million) in seed funding.

The company was founded by Ed Nutting, CTO, and Russell Haggar, an experienced entrepreneur and veteran semiconductor executive, who leads the company as executive chair. VyperCore was founded in July 2022 to develop further the research into memory allocation management and its impact on processor performance and security conducted by Nutting at Bristol University.

The funding round comes from Octopus Ventures, Foresight WAE Technology, Science Creates Ventures, British Growth Fund and Silicon Roundabout Ventures. The money will be used to open design centres in Cambridge, UK and Bristol, UK, and to develop a first generation of accelerated compute silicon.

Mind your language

Haggar explained to eeNews Europe that modern computer programming languages – such as Python, Java, Javascript, C#, Haskell – bring different sorts of loads to bear on processor architectures. Often these loads include greater data movement and “garbage collection” burdens than resulted from older programming languages. Meanwhile general-purpose processors have essentially, simply scaled with Moore’s Law or jumped out into application specific areas such as graphics and AI processing.

By focusing on memory allocation management Nutting’s research has shown an opportunity to develop technology that can improve processor throughput by an order of magnitude (10x) for existing general-purpose compute-intense workloads, Haggar said. “There are some operations that take thousands of compute cycles [on conventional processors] that we can bring down to a few dozen cycles,” said Haggar. And this can be done with existing source code and some compiler tweaks he added.

VyperCore’s technology brings the additional benefit of addressing memory security vulnerabilities at the gate level in silicon. About 70 percent of hacks on processors are based on memory overflow and memory leak security breaches. VyperCore’s approach to memory management will prevent these, he asserted.

Business model

The company could ultimately pursue an intellectual property licensing business model but initially is set to develop a RISC-V processor that could be sold on a card into the server market as a secure application accelerator.

“We know how VyperCore technology would work targeting edge devices. But for now we are targeting the data centre,” Haggar said. He added this was partly because it provides a lower barrier to market entry.

While the technology is generally applicable – including to x86 or ARM architecture processors – VyperCore is working with the RISC-V architecture because it is open, allowing VyperCore’s technology to be embedded deeply in the processor.

Haggar said that the company is now recruiting engineers who will spend the next year working on an FPGA implementation and compiler technology.

Professor David May, founder of Bristol chip company Xmos and well-known for his work as lead architect on the transputer, is an advisor to VyperCore as part of a four-strong technical advisory board.

Related links and articles:

News articles:

UK processor startup appoints James Lewis as CEO

UK startup is raising funds for Open Power processor

Startup launches near-binary neural network accelerator

If you enjoyed this article, you will like the following ones: don't miss them by subscribing to :    eeNews on Google News


Linked Articles