‘Universal’ processor startup gains supercomputer design win

‘Universal’ processor startup gains supercomputer design win

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

Tachyum is a 2016 startup co-founded by serial entrepreneur Radoslav Danilak, former founder and CEO of storage company Skyera and co-founder and CTO of Sandforce. The company is developing the Prodigy processor architecture, which combines general-purpose computing, high-performance computing, and multiple artificial intelligence disciplines within a single chip. It allows for a simple programming model and environment based on a coherent multiprocessor environment. First silicon is expected in 2020.

Danilak is U.S. citizen born in Slovakia, and serves on the Slovak government’s Innovation Advisory Board.

Tachyum’s Prodigy processor is a 64-core processor design that is expected to achieve clock frequencies in excess of 4GHz and excellent efficiency. Tachyum claims Prodigy outperforms the fastest data center processors while consuming one-tenth the electrical power, and at one-third the cost. In AI applications, Prodigy outperforms graphics chips and tensor processor units (TPUs) on neural net training and inference workloads while being easier to program, the company claims.

Tachyum is looking to reverse the trend towards heterogeneity in data centers with a universal processor. “There is never a more exciting time for a startup than the first customer, especially one who wants to deploy an AI/HPC supercomputer in 2021. The preparations at the supercomputer site are expected to start later this year, so that infrastructure is ready when Tachyum’s first hardware arrives,” said Danilak, in a statement.

The company discusses the creation of an exaflop supercomputer made of 250,000 Prodigy processors. In addition, Tachyum said that Prodigy will enable the building of computers more powerful than the human brain in 2021.

It is notable that Professor Steve Furber, one of two original designers of the Advanced RISC Machine or ARM processor, serves as a technical advisor to Tachyum. As an academic Professor Furber has been driving the SpiNNaker project to develop a neuromorphic supercomputer that could emulate the human brain.

In July 2019 Tachyum announced it had raised a $17 million Series A round of funding led by the private equity investor IPM Group. It is thought about $17 million of that money came from the Slovakian government to pay for an R&D center in Bratislava, Slovakia that could employ up to 150 engineers.

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