SiPearl signs to use ARM’s ‘Zeus’ processor

SiPearl signs to use ARM’s ‘Zeus’ processor

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

SiPearl is chartered with creating a processor for exascale computing that provides Europe with strategic independence. To that end it has been given €6.2 million from the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and under grant agreement no.826647. That money is essentially intended to give SiPearl enough ‘runway’ to launch a significant equity funding round. 

Neoverse is ARM’s name for its line of processor cores designed for networking infrastructure applications. The Zeus processor core from ARM is due to debut in 2020 on TSMC’s second-generation 7nm manufacturing process.

Designing a major processor targeting a 7nm manufacturing process is likely to cost tens of millions of dollars.

SiPearl said it would use the Zeus platform including a processor optimized pack (POP), a physically defined core designed to get customers to market quickly. The use of the POP will help SiPearl be in a position to launch its first generation of microprocessors in 2022, the company said.

SiPearl is intending to encourage a European market for high performance computing, artificial intelligence and connected mobility and ensure technological sovereignty. However, Europe is not capable of manufacturing 7nm FinFET silicon. This is an area where Taiwanese foundry TSMC leads and Samsung is second. Intel is struggling far behind and few other semiconductor companies aspire to manufacture at the leading edge.

“We would like to thank the teams from ARM for the confidence and trust that they have shown in us with this major license. It will enable us to gain nearly 10 years of development and position us as a major player from the outset,” said Philippe Notton, SiPearl’s CEO and founder, in a statement. “Thanks to the Arm Neoverse ‘Zeus’ platform and the intellectual property components developed by our partners from the European Processor Initiative consortium, our first generation of microprocessors will combine supercomputing power with outstanding energy efficiency and backdoor-free security. This will ensure that they are effectively positioned to support European supercomputers with their transition to exascale,” he concluded.

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