Is that Graphcore's Colossus IPU in package?

October 08, 2018 // By Peter Clarke
An IC package photograph has appeared which may be an early sighting of Graphcore's Intelligent Processing Unit (IPU) called Colossus.

However, rather than being associated with a long-awaited product launch, the picture is used to illustrate a blog about some of the past history of computing.

The picture heads up a blog on the company's website about Tommy Flowers, who helped create the world's first electronic computer in 1943 after which the Colossus IPU is named. Flowers was born in Poplar in the east-end of London after which Graphcore named its IPU software stack Poplar.

The package has the Graphcore logo but is notable in that it also has ES printed underneath it, which could stand for 'engineering sample.'

The chip is designed to accelerate machine learning loads in servers and data centers and was set to be manufactured in a 16nm FinFET process, likely by TSMC. Graphcore, a startup founded in 2016, claims Colussus can increase performance on machine learning algorithms by a factor of up to 100 compared with systems based on GPUs.

In July 2017 Simon Knowles, Graphcore CTO, said Colossus would ship to early-access partners that year with broader availability "early in 2018" (see Graphcore's 'Colossus' chip due before end of year ). In March of 2018, Knowles said the IPU would launch in the "next few months" (see Graphcore's two-chip 'Colossus' close to launch ).

However, competition in the field is mounting with large numbers of startup companies emerging including such companies as: AlphaICs, Cambricon, Cerebras, Groq, Gyrfalcon, Hailo Technology, Horizon Robotics Kneron, NovuMind, Syntiant and TensTorrent.

Related links and articles:

www.graphcore.ai

News articles:

Graphcore's 'Colossus' chip due before end of year

Graphcore's two-chip 'Colossus' close to launch

Gyrfalcon ships AI chip to Samsung, Fujitsu, LG


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