October 03, 2011

Adapteva Delivers Multicore processor with 70 GigaFLOPS per Watt

Chip startup Adapteva has taped out a 64-core version of a multicore design on the 28nm process node, delivering 100 gigaFLOPS of performance at under 2 watts of power.

Adapteva's Epiphany Benefits

• Out-of-the box floating point C programs enables significantly faster time to market and lower development costs

• 10-100X advantage in energy efficiency compared to traditional multicore floating point processors

• Up to 5 TFLOP sustained effective performance on a single chip, enables a new set of high performance applications

• Low latency zero-overhead inter-core communication simplifies parallel programming

• Scalable architecture allows code reuse across a wide range of markets and applications

According to Adapteva founder and CEO Andreas Olofsson, this latest silicon, officially known as Epiphany-IV (it's the fourth generation of the architecture) runs at 800 MHz and is expected to achieve 70 single precision gigaFLOPS/watt, twice the efficiency of their previous design. Their fab partner, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, is expected to start churning out samples of the 64-core wonder in January 2012.

The Epiphany multicore architecture IP is an integrated microprocessor solution, featuring up to 4,096 processors on a single chip, connected through a high-bandwidth on-chip network. Each processor node represents a fully-featured floating point RISC processor built from scratch for multicore processing, a high bandwidth local memory system, and an extensive set of built in hardware features for multicore communication. The resulting performance boost is coupled with Adapteva’s low power design and standard C programming model, bringing an unprecedented level of real-time processing to performance and power constrained mobile devices like smartphones and tablet computers, as well as improving performance levels for an array of other parallel computing platforms.

Adapteva Already Profitable

Adapteva, a privately-held semiconductor technology startup, has achieved profitability. Backed by BittWare for $1.5 million in November 2009, the four-person company has delivered three generations of silicon in less than two years. An extremely lean development process and laser-focused market vision changed the model for designing and producing a semiconductor chip that can enable everything from smarter mobile devices to HPC datacenters with thousands of cores running on a single platform.

“When we began developing our IP in 2008, every expert we spoke to said that it wouldn’t be possible to create a semiconductor company that could design, develop and market an advanced microprocessor chip for less than $75 Million dollars,” said Andreas Olofsson, CEO and founder of Adapteva. “Not only were we able to produce three generations of silicon for less than $2 Million, we have now achieved a break-even point for our business. Since announcing Epiphany in May, we’ve seen huge interest in growing the parallel programming model and using our chip to power this process.”

Intel Targeted 2 Watt Multi-core for 2019

Intel’s Shekhar Borkar, who works on the DARPA Ubiquitous High Performance Computing project, said today’s 100 gigaFLOPS computer uses 200 watts. By 2019, it should use about 2 watts, due to reductions in power required not only by the cores, but by the whole system, including memory and storage. He specified running processors at near the threshold voltage operation.

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