Company launches its Elite Partner Program with more than a dozen members
The Lowdown: The company this week unveiled its Elite Partner Program and the initial 17 members, which include Dell Technologies, Penguin Computing, Tech Data USA and Tech Data Europe, Atos, Inspur, and Boston Limited.
The Details: Graphcore, based in Bristol, United Kingdom, builds what it calls its Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU), a massively parallel chip designed to accelerate the performance of AI applications. The company’s products include the IPU-M2000, a 1U (1.75-inch) blade system powered by four of Graphcore’s 7-nanometer Colossus MK2 IPUs, providing 1 petaflop of AI compute and integrated networking, and running its Poplar software stack.
The modular systems can be interconnected with Graphcore’s IPU-Fabric to create IPU-POD systems with up to 64,000 IPUs for high-performance computing (HPC) and supercomputing scale.
IPU-M2000 will be available via the channel in the fourth quarter.
The Impact: AI and machine learning technologies are being infused into every business sector, cascading down from the HPC and supercomputer organizations to enterprises. Market research firm Grand View Research expects the global AI market to grow from $39.9 billion in 2019 to $733.7 billion by 2027.
Top chipmakers from Intel (which bought AI chip company Habana Labs in 2019 for $2 billion) to Nvidia (with its Nvidia Deep Learning Accelerator, or NVDLA) offer silicon optimized for AI workloads, as do companies like Google (and its Tensor Processing Units, or TPUs) and Amazon Web Services (Inferentia). There also are a host of AI chip start-ups that include not only Graphcore but also the likes of Hailo, Wave Computing, Cerebras, and Cambricon Technology.
Background: Graphcore was founded in 2016 and has grown to more than 1,200 employees. It has raised $460 million over the past four years.
The Buzz: “The Graphcore Elite Partner Program allows us to serve commercial, academic, and governmental customers around the world through some of the most trusted names in the information technology supply chain,” Graphcore CEO Nigel Toon said. “Our new IPU-M2000 system offers unparalleled compute performance, with a cost of ownership that is far more attractive than the legacy technologies that have dominated machine intelligence until now. That’s creating a wave of excitement and commercial opportunities that span the globe.”
“Graphcore is clearly lining up the right partners to make the MK2 and IPU Machine broadly available,” said Karl Freund, senior analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. “I expect the company to expand this list further as customers gain experience with the highly flexible IPU Machine and the Poplar software development stack.”
“Graphcore technology is a promising technology proven across many of the sectors that Atos serves, from medical research to financial services, academia to automotive,” said Agnès Boudot, senior vice president and head of HPC and quantum at Atos. “With demand for AI compute growing, we are delighted to be making Graphcore systems available throughout our ecosystem.”
“The transformational impact of AI and machine learning spans applications in our daily lives to the ability to effect human progress,” said Ron Pugh, vice president and general manager of Dell Technologies OEM Solutions. “As machine learning models increasingly become more sophisticated, new processing technologies are needed to meet the resource demands required to drive business outcomes. Seeing this opportunity, Dell Technologies Capital was an early investor in Graphcore. Working with Dell Technologies OEM Solutions, Graphcore now can offer a turnkey system, engineered with Dell EMC PowerEdge R6525 servers, designed to accelerate machine intelligence, helping customers reduce their time to value in training AI models, and achieving business insights.”
“Many businesses around the world are familiar with Graphcore and understand the capabilities of its IPU technology. As an Elite Partner serving more than 100 countries, Tech Data will bring this technology to market to our customers around the world, satisfying the global demand from innovators in private industry to public institutions,” said Maghen Hannigan, director of converged and integrated solutions at Tech Data USA.