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6 August, 2018 - 13:57 By Tony Quested

Arm and Cambridge key to AI star’s global rollout

SWIM AI Simon Crosby

The CTO of a bleeding edge transatlantic AI business which has just secured $10 million funding has explained why his alma mater, Cambridge, is so key to the company’s global success.

Simon Crosby, who was also one of the brains behind Cambridge Computer Lab spin-out Bromium as well as XenSource, helped SWIM.AI close the Series B round led by Cambridge Innovation Capital and joined by superchip architect Arm as a strategic backer.

Crosby also goes under the hood of what is a unique and potentially gamechanging partnership with Arm.

SWIM.AI is headquartered in downtown San Jose in California but its R & D nervecentre is in Cambridge UK; the Cambridge-centric funding success was first revealed by Business Weekly online last Wednesday.

Crosby says in a blog on SWIM.AI’s website: “CIC is the investment fund for the University of Cambridge, my alma mater, and the investment gives us an opportunity to partner with the academic community at the university via our R & D office in Cambridge. 

“We adopted a similar approach at XenSource – and students, the university and the company all benefited. Cambridge leads the world in scientific research and SWIM offers researchers unparalleled capability for real-time edge learning.

“The Cambridge link-up is a double delight because Arm has made a strategic investment in SWIM.AI. Arm is headquartered in Cambridge and has deep relations with the research community. 

“For a historical note, the first reactive edge system I built was a virtual packet handler in the FIQ interrupt handler on the ARM6-based Fairisle ATM network.

“Why is Arm investing in SWIM.AI? They’ve put out their own blog, but I offer my views here. Arm now licenses more than five billion CPU cores per quarter. That’s a big number. Are those devices simply going to dumbly ship data to the cloud? I think not.

“Arm dominates today’s edge computing market and its devices have access to a wealth of sensor information – with the potential to enable applications that optimise efficiency, safety and performance and transform user experiences. But to deliver these benefits edge devices need to become truly smart.

“A platform like SWIM that automatically transforms big-data into big insights at the edge will enable developers to quickly deliver transformative data-driven applications to fuel the edge economy.

“Edge devices and systems need to autonomously learn from and make predictions about their environment – from their data and from other devices nearby. And to unlock the potential of an edge environment rich in sensors and power-efficient computing developers need a simple way to get from vast amounts of raw data to insights and predictions. 

“They need a software system that lets devices share insights to enable complex systems to function. That’s SWIM, and developers can now sign up for early access to the SWIM SDK. 

“That’s right – we are strategically aligned with Arm in seeking to bring the benefits of edge learning to all applications. I guess that means the hat is in the ring. Edge learning is now a thing.”

Actually founded in 2015, SWIM.AI provides edge intelligence software, which combines local data processing with analytics and machine learning to deliver real-time business insights.

The new funding is being used to launch a Cambridge-based AI R & D centre, capitalising on the expertise available in the Cambridge cluster, to accelerate product development, and expand sales and marketing into new verticals and geographies.

Edge computing is an emerging technology for processing data on sensors and control devices in a network closest to where that data is generated. 
Processing data at the edge, where it is captured, rather than transmitting that data to the cloud, reduces latency and bandwidth, and reduces cloud storage and computing costs.

Andrew Williamson of CIC said: “SWIM.AI has created an industry leading solution that will change the way manufacturers, service providers, enterprises, cities, IoT vendors and others consume and utilise data at the edge.

“The SWIM team is helping customers overcome edge data processing challenges and efficiently build edge processing applications. We are delighted to support Rusty, Chris and the team at SWIM.AI.”

In April, SWIM.AI announced the general availability of its edge software solution SWIM EDXTM, which enables customers to analyse high volumes of streaming edge data and deliver real-time insights that can easily be shared and visualised. 

SWIM EDX greatly reduces bandwidth, storage and cloud processing costs for large volumes of edge data. In addition, a developer software development kit (or SDK) makes it simple to create new real-time edge applications.

SWIM.AI already has a number of customers who are using the EDX software to deliver edge intelligence to manufacturing, smart city, IoT, logistics and many other verticals.

Damon Civin, principal data scientist at Arm, said: “SWIM’s ability to analyse data and apply machine learning at the edge unlocks new IoT use cases by unleashing data that was previously too difficult, slow or expensive to send to the cloud for analysis. 

“Their solution complements the Arm Mbed IoT Device Management Platform and our mission of enabling organisations to seamlessly obtain and derive meaning from their IoT data.”

Rusty Cumpston, co-founder and CEO of SWIM.AI, added, “Demand for the EDX software is rapidly increasing, driven by our software’s unique ability to analyse and reduce data, share new insights instantly peer-to-peer locally at the ‘edge’ on existing equipment. 

“Efficiently processing edge data and enabling insights to be easily created and delivered with the lowest latency are critical needs for any organisation. We are excited to expand SWIM’s operations in Cambridge, and look forward to partnering with our new investors to shape the future of real-time analytics at the edge.”

The SWIM team has extensive tech experience from previous companies that include XenSource, Virtustream (Dell/EMC), Cisco, Sensity Systems, Coho Data, Bromium and Citrix.

Simon Crosby brings an established record of technology industry success, most recently as co-founder and CTO of Bromium, a security technology company. 

At Bromium, he built a highly secure virtualised system to protect applications. Prior to Bromium, Crosby was the co-founder and CTO of XenSource before its acquisition by Citrix and later served as the CTO of the Virtualization and Management Division at Citrix. 

Previously, he was a principal engineer at Intel. Crosby was also the founder of CPlane, a network-optimisation software vendor. He has been a tenured faculty member at the University of Cambridge and was named one of InfoWorld’s Top 25 CTOs in 2007.

Founder and CEO Rusty Cumpston has a long history of startup success having co-founded Sensity Systems, Inc. (acquired by Verizon Communications in 2016). 

He was also CEO of CloudShield Technologies and earlier chief operating officer of ONI Systems, a leading provider of optical networking systems for metro transport markets. Originally he was the interim CEO and VP of Engineering at XenSource and the VP of Engineering at Infinera (IPO 2007).

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Simon Crosby, CTO at SWIM.AI

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