Tenstorrent Inc. (Toronto, Canada) has agreed to work with Japan’s nascent advanced logic foundry Rapidus Corp. to develop semiconductor IP for edge AI processing, based on a 2nm manufacturing process.
Having a catalog of high-performance silicon-proven IP will likely be a key to success for any foundry operating at 2nm and beyond.
Tenstorrent was founded in 2016 and recruited veteran CPU designer Jim Keller as CTO in 2021. Keller became CEO at the beginning of 2023. The company has a ‘full-stack’ business model that includes licensing intellectual property, selling chiplets, chiplet-based components, accelerator cards and providing fully configured servers. The company has its Greyskull AI and Ascalon RISC-V processors available and a roadmap that includes Quasar and Grendel due to arrive in 2024 that make use of 4nm and 3nm manufacturing process nodes.
Tenstorrent has received funding from the Samsung Catalyst venture capital fund and will use Samsung Foundry to brings its next-generation AI chiplets to market.
Rapidus moving quickly
Rapidus was founded with support of a consortium of eight major Japanese companies in 2022 to develop and produce cutting-edge chips using a 2nm process by 2027 (see Consortium forms Rapidus to get Japan back into chip race at 2nm). A fundamental part of that deal is a partnership to make use of a 2nm manufacturing process developed but not deployed by IBM. IBM announced it had developed a 2nm manufacturing process and designed a first 2nm chip in May 2021 (see IBM announces 2nm chip, and manufacturing process).
“We have tremendous momentum with our customers in the Asia-Pacific region right now, and I am proud that we can start talking about all the things we are doing in Japan,” said said David Bennett, Chief Customer Officer of Tenstorrent, in a statement.
In September of this year, Rapidus began construction of IIM (Innovative Integration for Manufacturing) in Chitose City, Hokkaido. This will be Japan’s first facility for the production of state-of-the-art logic semiconductors at 2nm and beyond (see Rapidus breaks ground on 2nm fab, goes on hiring spree). At the same time, Rapidus has been dispatching researchers to the Albany Nanotech Complex in New York to work with IBM to develop technologies for the production of 2nm logic semiconductors. The company is also planning to acquire EUV lithography technology.