Announcements

Axelera AI Announces Successful Testing of Thetis Core Chip

Delivering 40 tera operations per second, the chip is fully optimised for AI edge applications

Eindhoven, Netherlands – May 17, 2022 – Artificial intelligence (AI) startup Axelera AI announced it has successfully tested and validated its first chip, the Thetis Core.

The Thetis Core, first taped out in December 2021 with the support of imec.IC-link, is a test vehicle demonstrating the high performance and efficiency of the in-memory computing technology developed by Axelera AI.

The in-memory computing engine delivers an astonishing 39.3 tera operations per second (TOP/s) with an efficiency of 14.1 TOPs/W at an INT8 precision in less than 9 square millimeters. In the case of high-sparsity activations, the peak energy efficiency reaches 33 TOPs/W. Moreover, by increasing the nominal clock frequency the peak throughput reaches 48.16 TOPs.

Multiple enhanced versions of the in-memory computing engine will be integrated inside the company’s first product, which will be announced later this year and will be available in early 2023.

Axelera AI is a European company which is developing a powerful, efficient, and competitive hardware and software platform to accelerate artificial intelligence workloads at the edge.

Based in the AI Innovation Center of the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, the company has R&D offices throughout Europe in Leuven (BE) and Zurich (CH) and presence in Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Romania. Since its inception last summer, the company has recruited an elite team of more than 50 senior engineers and developers from world-leading AI companies and research centres, including Intel, Qualcomm, IBM, and imec.

“Thetis Core is an important milestone for Axelera AI. It demonstrates that our in-memory computing technology can deliver extremely high throughput, high precision, and efficiency in an extremely compact footprint,” Axelera AI CEO and co-founder Fabrizio del Maffeo said. “This chip, taped out in just a few months, shows the strength of our fast-growing team which has a unique mix of competencies, from analog and digital in-memory computing to dataflow, RISC-V, machine learning and software.”

“The breakthrough performance of Thetis manifests the efficacy of Axelera’s in-memory computing approach. Such a novel computing paradigm is perfectly timed to meet the stringent operational requirements of the AI applications at the edge,” Axelera AI co-founder and CTO Evangelos Eleftheriou said. “The high-energy efficiency together with the high precision and the versatile software stack will address the user pain points of AI application development at the edge.”

Axelera AI is designing the world’s most efficient and advanced AI solutions. Its game-changing hardware and software platform will concentrate the AI computational power of an entire server into a single chip at a fraction of the power consumption and price of AI hardware today. The Axelera AI software stack will allow customers to run their neural networks and applications efficiently and cost-effectively, without the need to retrain teams on new AI frameworks. Axelera AI cloud and marketplace will also offer off-the-shelf AI solutions for software and hardware developers who need a fast integration of AI in their products.

The company’s groundbreaking solutions will empower thousands of applications of AI at the edge, making the use of AI more efficient and accessible than ever before. Axelera AI’s products will be fully integrated with the leading open-sourced AI frameworks when it is launched to select customers and partners in early 2023. The company is also currently raising its Series A fund, expected to close later this year.

Axelera AI co-founder and CEO Fabrizio del Maffeo will share more details about the Thetis Core chip at imec’s flagship event on nanoelectronics advances & deeptech solutions, the 2022 Future Summit. Details on his fireside conversation, scheduled for May 18, can be found here.

For more information, contact: Rachel Pipan, press@axelera.ai

 

More Information:

Axelera AI

Axelera AI was incubated by the Bitfury group and imec, and started its operation in July 2021. In September 2021 Axelera AI announced its first Euro 10 million investment round led by Bitfury with the participation of Innovation Industries, imec.xpand and in-kind contributions by Bitfury and imec. Since its inception the team of Axelera AI has grown to more than 50 people, expecting to reach 100 people by the end of the year, and with presence in more than 10 European countries.

Axelera AI is advised by the internationally renowned AI experts Professor Luca Benini, chair of digital Circuits and Systems at D-ITET ETH Zurich, Professor Marian Verhelst, Scientific Director at imec and professor MICAS in KU Leuven and Professor Torsten Hoefler, Chair of Scalable Parallel Computing Laboratory (SPCL) at D-INFK ETH Zurich. Board members of Axelera AI are Fabrizio Del Maffeo, CEO and Co-Founder, Bitfury Executive Vice President George Kikvadze alongside Innovation Industries partner Sander Verbrugge and Valery Vavilov, CVO and co-founder of Bitfury.

About Artificial Intelligence at The Edge

More than 125 billion “things” are expected to be connected to the internet (IoT) by 2030 – including smartphones, cameras, smart city sensors, and more. Each of these devices, even the most miniature sensor, creates an enormous amount of data. It is forecast that the total amount of data created, captured, copied, and consumed globally will grow exponentially at least over the next decade. Note that due to a lack of expertise and AI tools, only 2% of the data available today has been analyzed. Artificial intelligence allows us to analyze and understand this data thoroughly. However, the sheer amount of information and the increasingly complex algorithms require a new generation of more powerful, efficient, and accessible computation hardware. Due to growing privacy, security and bandwidth concerns, data is increasingly processed close to its origin, or “the edge.”

The AI hardware available today has been designed primarily for cloud computing operations, a sector with limited cost, power, and scalability constraints. This computational hardware for edge applications needs an entirely new design that considers specific power needs, computational requirements, and economics. Axelera AI will capture this opportunity by developing and delivering a game-changing and scalable technology with superior performance and efficiency to accelerate AI applications at the edge.

Announcements

Axelera AI Announces New Scientific Advisor TORSTEN HOEFLER

EINDHOVEN, February 14, 2022 – Today, semiconductor start-up Axelera AI announced that new technical advisor, Torsten Hoefler.
Torsten is a professor at ETH Zurich, where he leads the Scalable Parallel Computing Laboratory. 

His research aims at understanding the performance of parallel computing systems ranging from parallel and data-centric computer architectures to parallel programming and parallel algorithms. 

His long experience in computer science and machine learning has given him extensive knowledge on how to help realize the vision for AI: delivering powerful yet accessible artificial intelligence that can be used by everyone without barriers or restrictions. He has published more than 200 papers in peer-reviewed international conferences and journals and has co-authored the latest versions of the MPI specification.

As Scientific Advisor, Torsten Hoefler advises the Axelera AI Team on the scientific aspects of its research and development. To learn more about Torsten’s work, please visit his biography page.

 

Announcements

Axelera AI Announces New CTO and Scientific Advisors

Experts Hail from IBM, Google, ETH Zurich, and Other Leading Organisations

EINDHOVEN, October 13, 2021 – Today, semiconductor start-up Axelera AI announced that Prof. Dr. Evangelos Eleftheriou has joined its executive team as Chief Technology Officer. Axelera AI also announced two new appointments to its cohort of scientific advisors, Prof. Dr. Marian Verhelst and Prof. Dr. Luca Benini. The CTO and new advisors will be supporting Axelera AI’s development of the next generation of AI hardware, launched last month with a successful $12 million seed round.

Before joining Axelera AI, Eleftheriou, an IEEE and IBM Fellow, has held various leadership positions at IBM Research. Among them, Eleftheriou has been the Department Head of Cloud and Computing Infrastructure as well as Leader of the Neuromorphic and In-memory Computing activities at IBM Research-Zurich. He brings to Axelera AI more than 35 years of research, leadership and industry experience. At Axelera AI, he will spearhead the development and dissemination of the company’s scalable AI hardware for applications at the edge. He joins a growing team in Zurich, with engineers and researchers hailing from Google, IBM Research and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), among others.

Prof. Dr. Benini is the current chair of Digital Circuits and Systems at D-ITET ETH Zurich and a full professor at the University of Bologna. His numerous accolades include an ERC-​advanced grant, the 2016 IEEE CAS Mac Van Valkenburg Award, the 2019 IEEE TCAD Donald O. Pederson Best Paper Award and the ACM/IEEE A. Richard Newton Award 2020.  Axelera AI advisor Prof. Dr. Marian Verhelst is the Senior Scientific Director of IMEC and Professor at KU Leuven, where she specialises in digital and analogue accelerators. Dr. Verhelst founded KU Leuven’s research consortium on “context-aware ubiquitous computing (CubiqLab)” and has published numerous books, patents and journal contributions.

“Axelera AI’s game-changing technology will require input from the world’s most cutting-edge AI researchers and technologists,” said Fabrizio Del Maffeo, CEO and founder of Axelera AI. “We are excited to have Evangelos joining as our CTO and a diverse team of researchers and leaders serving as our scientific advisors.”

“I am honoured to be joining the executive team at Axelera AI,” remarked Evangelos Eleftheriou. “Axelera AI will be changing the AI industry with its new technological designs. I look forward to working closely with their leadership, board and advisors to achieve the company’s goals and introduce new AI solutions around the globe.”

Scientific advisor Prof. Dr. Luca Benini added, “Axelera AI is creating industry-defining technology to support innovation and expansion in AI capabilities. I am thrilled to join as a scientific advisor to make this possible.”

“Axelera AI’s scientific advisors will make recommendations based on our extensive experiences in edge computing, efficient processing platforms, neural networks and more,” agreed Prof. Dr. Marian Verhelst. “It is an honour to advise the company alongside other leaders building the future of AI.”

About Axelera AI

Axelera AI is designing the world’s most efficient and advanced solutions for AI at the edge. Its game-changing hardware and software product will concentrate the AI computational power of an entire server into a single chip at a fraction of the power consumption and price of AI hardware today. The company’s groundbreaking solution will empower thousands of applications of AI at the edge, making the use of AI more efficient and accessible than ever before. Axelera AI’s products will be fully integrated with the leading open-sourced AI frameworks when it launches to select customers and partners in 2022.

About Artificial Intelligence at The Edge 

More than 125 billion “things” are expected to be connected to the internet by 2030 – including smartphones, cameras, smart city sensors, and more. Each of these “internet of things (IoT)” devices, even the most miniature sensor, creates an exponential amount of data for analysis. Currently, only 2% of that data has been analysed due to a lack of expertise and AI tools. Artificial intelligence allows us to analyse and understand this data thoroughly. However, the sheer amount of information and increasingly complex algorithms require a new generation of more powerful, efficient and accessible computation hardware. Due to growing privacy, security and bandwidth concerns, data is increasingly processed close to its origin, or “the edge.”

The AI hardware available today has been designed primarily for cloud computing operations, a sector with relatively limited cost, power, and scalability constraints. Computational hardware for edge applications needs an entirely new design that considers specific power needs, computational needs and economics. Axelera AI will capture this opportunity by developing and delivering a game-changing and scalable technology with superior performance and efficiency to accelerate AI applications at the edge.

Press Contact: 

Rachel Pipan, press@axelera.ai

Announcements

Dutch AI Semiconductor Startup Axelera AI Launches With $12 Million Seed Round

Stealth company incubated by blockchain unicorn Bitfury Group and global nanoelectronics R&D center imec

Eindhoven, Netherlands – September 15, 2021 – AI semiconductor startup Axelera AI announced today that it has successfully closed a seed investment round of $12 million. 

The round was led by emerging technologies leader Bitfury and joined by global nanoelectronics R&D center imec and deep-tech venture capital funds Innovation Industries and imec.xpand. The funding will support the company’s development of an industry-defining product powering AI applications at the edge.  

Axelera AI was incubated by Bitfury Group in 2019, formerly operating as Bitfury AI until the company came out as an independent entity this year. Building on its extensive research and development focused on integrating world-class hardware and software technologies for edge and cloud-to-edge enterprise solutions, Axelera AI joined forces with imec in early 2020 to develop groundbreaking computing architecture for high-performance AI. Headquartered in the AI Innovation Center of the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, Axelera AI also has R&D offices in Leuven (BE) and Zurich (CH). The company has already recruited an elite team of more than 20 senior engineers and developers from world-leading AI companies and research centers, including Intel, Qualcomm, IBM, and imec.   

“With our launch as a new independent company and the closing of this investment, Axelera AI is now claiming its place as a significant player in the global AI sector,” said Fabrizio del Maffeo, CEO and co-founder of Axelera AI. “Our extraordinary team merges complementary expertise in software development, image processing, dataflow architecture, in-memory computing, algorithms and quantization with a proven track record of business success. We look forward to building on our extensive R&D and introducing new solutions across the globe over the next few years.” 

“Bitfury has a proven track record of incubating and bringing game-changing technologies to market,” said Valery Vavilov, CEO and co-founder of Bitfury Group. “We can look no further than LiquidStack, the emerging leader in two-phase liquid immersion cooling for the world’s most intensive computing applications, and Crystal Blockchain, the most advanced blockchain analytics platform for digital asset compliance. We could not be more excited to support the launch of Axelera AI, which is bound to accelerate the development and delivery of critical AI solutions across global markets.” 

“Imec has spent years researching custom circuits and novel architectures for efficient AI using in-memory compute, algorithms and quantization”, said Diederik Verkest, Program Director for machine learning at imec. “We are proud that after working together with the Bitfury Group, we can leverage and contribute this expertise to ensure Axelera AI develops and brings the best possible product to the edge AI market.” 

“Axelera AI is a unique Dutch start-up on a journey to deliver a disruptive AI chip that will accelerate the application of AI at the ‘edge of IOT’,” said Sander Verbrugge, partner at Innovation Industries. “Affordable AI compute power operating at low power is essential to unlock the full potential of AI in our everyday lives. We are proud to be part of this journey and to support this world-class team in achieving its ambitions.” 

“Axelera AI has brought together a stellar team and unites several distinct in-memory compute efforts from across Europe under one roof. We very much look forward to working with Fabrizio and his team and helping them achieve their ambitious goals by leveraging imec.xpand’s cross-border, value-add platform and network,” said Cyril Vančura, partner at imec.xpand.  

Axelera AI is designing the world’s most efficient and advanced solutions for AI at the edge. Its game-changing hardware and software product will concentrate the AI computational power of an entire server into a single chip at a fraction of the power consumption and price of AI hardware today. The company’s groundbreaking solution will empower thousands of applications of AI at the edge, making the use of AI more efficient and accessible than ever before. Axelera AI’s products will be fully integrated with the leading open-sourced AI frameworks when it launches to select customers and partners in 2022. 

For more information, contact: 

Rachel Pipan, press@axelera.ai   

Jade Liu, Press Officer imec, Jade.Liu@imec.be  

More Information: 

Axelera AI Leadership 

Axelera AI is led by CEO and co-founder Fabrizio del Maffeo. Prior to founding Axelera AI, he was Head of Artificial Intelligence at Bitfury and Vice President/Managing Director of Asus Group company AAEON Europe. To its non-executive board, Axelera AI has welcomed Bitfury Executive Vice President George Kikvadze and Innovation Industries partner Sander Verbrugge. Valery Vavilov, CEO and co-founder of Bitfury, will also serve as a board member. 

About Artificial Intelligence at The Edge 

More than 125 billion “things” are expected to be connected to the internet by 2030 – including smartphones, cameras, smart city sensors, and more. Each of these “internet of things (IoT)” devices, even the most miniature sensor, creates an exponential amount of data for analysis. Currently, only 2% of that data has been analyzed due to a lack of expertise and AI tools. Artificial intelligence allows us to analyze and understand this data thoroughly. However, the sheer amount of information and increasingly complex algorithms require a new generation of more powerful, efficient and accessible computation hardware. Due to growing privacy, security and bandwidth concerns, data is increasingly processed close to its origin, or “the edge.” 

The AI hardware available today has been designed primarily for cloud computing operations, a sector with cost, power, and scalability constraints. Computational hardware for edge applications needs an entirely new design that considers specific power needs, computational needs and economics. Axelera AI will capture this opportunity by developing and delivering a game-changing and scalable technology with superior performance and efficiency to accelerate AI applications at the edge. 

About The Bitfury Group 

The Bitfury Group is the world’s leading emerging technologies company. Bitfury™ is building solutions for the future, with the most significant technologies of the millennium. Our mission is to make the world more transparent and trusted by innovating at every level of technology – hardware, security, and software.  

Founded in 2011, Bitfury is the leading security and infrastructure provider for the Bitcoin Blockchain. In addition to securing the Bitcoin Blockchain, Bitfury also designs and produces innovative hardware that keeps cryptocurrencies and blockchains secure, including custom semiconductor chips and mobile data centers. Bitfury is also a software provider for some of the world’s most cutting-edge applications through its Exonum™ private blockchain framework and its Crystal™ Blockchain, the most advanced blockchain analytics platform for digital asset compliance.  To learn more, visit www.bitfury.com.     

About IMEC 

Imec is a world-leading research and innovation centre in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. Imec leverages its state-of-the-art R&D infrastructure and its team of more than 5.000 employees and top researchers, for R&D in advanced semiconductor and system scaling, silicon photonics, artificial intelligence, beyond 5G communications and sensing technologies, and in application domains such as health and life sciences, mobility, industry 4.0, agrofood, smart cities, sustainable energy, and education. Imec unites world-industry leaders across the semiconductor value chain, Flanders-based and international tech, pharma, medical and ICT companies, start-ups, and academia and knowledge centers. Imec is headquartered in Leuven (Belgium), and has research sites across Belgium, in the Netherlands, Taiwan and the USA, and offices in China, India and Japan. In 2020, imec’s revenue (P&L) totaled 680 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec-int.com. 

About Innovation Industries  

Innovation Industries is a Deeptech venture capital investor that invests up to €30M in Hightech, Agri&Foodtech and Medtech businesses. Today, Innovation Industries manages over €275M across two funds and has a team of 15 investment professionals. Its largest investors are the Dutch pension funds PME and PMT. Innovation Industries invests from seed to late stage and has partnerships with all Dutch technical universities and research institute TNO. For more information on Innovation Industries see: www.innovationindustries.com 

About Imec.xpand 

Imec.xpand is an early stage and growth fund with a game-changing approach to turn hardware driven nanotechnology innovation into successful global companies. The fund is independently managed by a team of entrepreneurs, seasoned venture capitalists and business experts and is targeting ambitious tech start-ups were imec knowledge, expertise and infrastructure can play a determining role in the success. For more information about imec.xpand please visit us on www.imecxpand.com 

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