Graphcore
Index Award 2021 Finalists
Graphcore
One AI chip to rule them all

What’s the design in a nutshell?
As the tech of tomorrow come with artificial intelligence as a standard feature, Graphcore is making super chips that power AI work faster than ever.

Why is it needed?
As technology advances, we’re looking to artificial intelligence more and more to help us take giant leaps ahead in solving complex challenges. To date, it has helped us build more robust medical systems, advance scientific research, and can even predict natural disasters. But as the tech progresses, our hardware needs to keep up: that means we need to work fast to develop new and robust processing tools.

How does it work?
Today, the costly and time-consuming part of using AI is training it. Graphcore’s Intelligence Processing Units (IPU), chips placed in computing devices, would accelerate and optimise these processes. For example, a computing task that would typically take about two hours on traditional hardware could take as little as 4.5 minutes with an IPU. Essentially, the IPU’s unique architecture enables AI researchers to undertake entirely new types of work, not possible using current technologies, to drive the next advances in machine intelligence.

“We have created a technology that dramatically outperforms legacy processors such as GPUs, a powerful set of software tools that are tailored to the needs of AI developers, and a global sales operation that is bringing our products to market,” said Graphcore CEO and co-founder Nigel Toon.

"Graphcore's technology would revolutionise the processes that could have far-reaching benefits across many industries."

How does it improve life?
Today, many companies rely on AI to do much of their work, Graphcore's technology would revolutionise the processes that could have far-reaching benefits across many industries. For example, speeding up the development of voice recognition applications and getting driverless cars on the roads faster. In essence, Graphcore believes their technology “will become the worldwide standard for machine intelligence computing”

What’s the impact to date or projected impact?
In 2019, Dell began shipping the first IPU-based servers, and Microsoft rolled out an IPU cloud-computing service, which gave companies on-demand access to Graphcore’s technology.

Today, the company employs around 450 people in Bristol, Cambridge, London, Beijing, Oslo, Palo Alto, Seattle, and Taiwan. It expects the number to grow to 600 by the end of 2021. Since its official founding, Graphcore has raised more than €586,2 million from investors, including tech companies such as Microsoft and Samsung, the prominent Silicon Valley venture capital business Sequoia Capital and the carmaker BMW. They first achieved “unicorn” status with a valuation above €825,6 million in 2018.