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'Universal processor' company Tachyum joins European HPC think tank

Still no closer to releasing timeline for its '128 exaflops' AI super, though – and no one's tested the chips yet

Tachyum, the outfit aiming to develop a "universal processor" for HPC and artificial intelligence workloads, has joined the European Technology Platform for High Performance Computing (ETP4HPC), a think-tank promoting European HPC research and innovation.

The Slovakian company put out an FPGA prototype last year, which we noted at the time is still a long way away from proving the company's bold claims.

The "Prodigy" chipmaker said it had been accepted as an associated SME member of ETP4HPC, an industry-led non-profit association set up to drive the economic and societal benefits of HPC for European science and industry. The organization counts Intel, HPE, Dell, Atos and Arm among its many members.

The company has for several years been working on its "Universal Processor" technology, which is claimed to deliver compute cores with the functionality of a CPU, a GPU, and a TPU - a specialised accelerator for the kind of calculations used in machine learning neural networks – all in a single device.

Tachyum's forthcoming Prodigy processor chips are expected to feature 128 of these 64-bit compute cores.

The company has made various bold claims about performance, such as it being up to 4x faster than the highest performing X86 processors and up to 3x faster than the highest performing GPU, but has so far only demonstrated it implemented using an FPGA and booting into Linux.

Evaluation platforms to ship – in 6+ months

Earlier this month, the company announced that it will be offering a limited number of Prodigy Evaluation Platforms, built with functioning Prodigy processors and application software and shipped in a standard 2U server form factor. Qualified customers and partners interested in getting their hands on one need to pre-order before July 31, and delivery is expected to be six to nine months after receipt of order, Tachyum said.

According to Tachyum, it is aiming to build "the world's fastest AI supercomputer" in the EU based on the Prodigy processor technology, and claims this will come in at 128 exaflops.

To put this in perspective, the Frontier exascale system that became operational at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US recently is working its way up to delivering 2 exaflops. No timeframe has been given by Tachyum for meeting this ambitious goal, however.

ETP4HPC is itself a private member of the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking project behind some of the newer European supercomputers such as Jupiter and LUMI.

Tachyum said that it is "a natural fit" for the ETP4HPC community, and that it will join the activities of selected working groups to share and receive expertise in the chip design and production industry, promote white papers and get to a closer relationship with other SMEs in the field of the HPC from across Europe. This will allow Tachyum to contribute to advancing European efforts in the semiconductors industry and towards achieving an exascale supercomputer, the company added.

"Europe continues to represent a technological hotbed in terms of innovation and talent, and by joining consortiums like ETP4HPC, we are able to provide leadership and expertise to advance the region's continued push towards technology sovereignty," said Tachyum founder and CEO Dr Radoslav Danilak. Danilak was previously co-founder of flash storage startup Skyera, which was acquired by Western Digital in 2014. ®

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