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8 May, 2020 - 21:26 By Tony Quested

Arm technology to drive exascale supercomputer

SiPearl, a French company designing the high-performance, low-power microprocessor for the European exascale supercomputer, is leveraging technology from Cambridge company Arm for the project.

SiPearl has signed up to use the next-generation secure and scalable Arm Neoverse platform, codenamed Zeus, as well as the robust software and hardware Arm ecosystem.

Deploying the Arm Zeus platform, including Arm’s POP™ IP, on advanced FinFET2 technology enables SiPearl to accelerate its design and ensure outstanding reliability for a very high-end offering, in terms of both computing power and energy efficiency, and be ready to launch its first generation of microprocessors in 2022.

SiPearl will be moving forward with the joint project of the 27 academic and industrial members of the European Processor Initiative3 (EPI), a consortium chosen by the European Union to support the development of the European microprocessor. 

Based on a roadmap that is closely aligned with the EU’s goals, SiPearl and its solutions will help drive the development of the European market for high performance computing, as well as its applications such as artificial intelligence and connected mobility. 

It will enable Europe to ensure its technological sovereignty and independence to meet a growing range of increasingly complex strategic challenges: research, health, weather forecasting, energy, defence, chemicals, engineering, cybersecurity, and smart cities.

“Arm Neoverse platforms are committed to enable the infrastructure for a world of a trillion connected devices, providing a foundation for our ecosystem to build products spanning edge to cloud and beyond to high performance computing,” said Chris Bergey, SVP and GM, Infrastructure Line of Business, Arm.

“SiPearl’s use of the next-generation Zeus platform for a power-efficient, yet high-performing solution aligns perfectly with the Neoverse design principles and we look forward to collaborating with SiPearl on its first-generation solutions.”

The hyper-fast exascale computer would have processing power in the order of the estimated processing power of the human brain at the neural level. Exascale computing refers to systems capable of at least one exaFLOPS, or a billion billion calculations per second. Such capacity represents a thousandfold increase over the first petascale computer that came into operation in 2008.

Philippe Notton, SiPearl’s CEO and founder, said: “We would like to thank the teams from Arm for the confidence and trust that they have shown in us with this major licence. 

“It will enable us to gain nearly 10 years of development and position us as a major player from the outset. Thanks to the Arm Neoverse Zeus platform and the intellectual property components developed by our partners from the European Processor Initiative consortium, our first generation of microprocessors will combine supercomputing power with outstanding energy efficiency and backdoor-free security. 

“This will ensure that they are effectively positioned to support European supercomputers with their transition to exascale.”

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