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Tachyum Targets Data Centers

June 12, 2018

Author: Tom R. Halfhill

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, but we’ll have to wait for the proof. Tachyum—a startup based in Silicon Valley and Slovakia—has announced a “universal processor” called Prodigy. Scheduled to sample in early 2020, Prodigy is designed to run data-center software, machine-learning algorithms, and high-performance-computing (HPC) workloads. Tachyum claims it will deliver 5–10x more performance per watt than today’s Intel Xeon processors.

The company’s cofounder and CEO is Rado Danilak, an engineer and entrepreneur whose resume includes Nishan Systems, Nvidia, SandForce, Skyera, Toshiba, and Wave Computing. His design experience encompasses GPUs, deep-learning processors, and flash-memory controllers. He previously founded Skyera (acquired by Western Digital) and cofounded SandForce (acquired by LSI). Tachyum’s main backer is IPM Growth, an investment company established in 2014 to focus on central and eastern Europe. The amount of Tachyum’s funding is undisclosed.

The startup is withholding many other details until the Hot Chips symposium in August but shared some information with MPR. To achieve its lofty performance goals, Tachyum has designed a new 64-bit architecture that combines elements of RISC, CISC, and VLIW. The company says it will not only beat today’s Xeons but will also compete strongly with GPUs on machine learning. In sum, Tachyum is making many promises that require extraordinary effort to fulfill.

Regardless of Prodigy’s possible merits, Tachyum has a steep hill to climb. The company’s best hope is to find a niche that exploits Prodigy’s strengths and requires a relatively small set of recompiled software. That specialty may become obvious as more details of this new processor emerge.

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