[News] Rapidus Partners RISC-V Player Esperanto, Targeting Low-Power AI Chip

2024-05-17 Semiconductors editor

On May 16, Japanese foundry startup Rapidus announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with American RISC-V architecture chip design company, Esperanto. The two sides will collaborate on the research and development of AI semiconductors for data centers, aiming to jointly develop low-power AI chips.

Currently, according to a report from DRAMeXchange, despite the gradual ease of GPU shortage, power supply has become another bottleneck in the course of the AI development.

Industry sources cited in the report have pointed out that CPU and GPU have played a critical role in fostering the prosperity of the AI market. However, the increasing power consumption of the latest chips is causing a recent crisis. For instance, it is expected that by 2027, the energy consumed by generative AI processing will account for nearly 80% of the total electricity consumption of data centers in the United States.

Data center is a major engine to drive the growth of electricity demand. With the advent of the AI era, represented by generative AI, the power required for high-performance computing chips continuously increases, which in turn raises the electricity consumption of data centers.

Esperanto has been committed to designing large-scale parallel, high-performance, and energy-efficient computing solutions. Previously, it launched the ET-SOC-1-based RISC-V architecture many-core AI/HPC acceleration chip, built on TSMC’s 7nm process.

Rapidus is a wafer foundry founded in August 2022 with joint investments from eight Japanese companies, including Toyota, Sony, NTT, NEC, SoftBank, Denso, NAND flash giant Kioxia, and Mitsubishi UFJ. Its first factory, “IIM-1,” based in Chitose, Hokkaido, already broke ground in September 2023 and is expected to start running trial production lines in April 2025 and install EUV lithography machines. Rapidus aims to mass-produce the most advanced logic chips below 2nm by 2027.

The initial focus of the cooperation between Rapidus and Esperanto is to enable future semiconductor designers to develop more energy-efficient solutions for AI inference and high-performance computing workloads in data centers and enterprise edge applications. This will help mitigate the unsustainable growth of energy consumption across global data centers.

In 2022, data center, AI, and cryptocurrency consumed about 460 TWh of electricity worldwide in total, comprising 2% of the overall global demand. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that, influenced by factors such as generative AI, global data center power demand could rise to about 1,000 TWh in 2026, roughly equivalent to the entire electricity consumption in Japan.

IEA states that updated regulations and technological improvements, including energy efficiency, are of great significance to curb the surge in data center energy consumption.

Read more

(Photo credit: Rapidus)

Please note that this article cites information from WeChat account DRAMeXchange.

Get in touch with us