Q: What does Adapteva do?
Adapteva is a semiconductor technology company that has created a breakthrough multicore microprocessor architecture that scales from a single processor to thousands of processors on a single chip. The technology provides an immediate 10x boost in energy efficiency over existing products.
Q: Is the technology for real?
We have been shipping high quality silicon products since May 2011. We are on our fourth generation of silicon and have validated the architecture on a wide range of applications. Development kits are available to customers who want to find out first hand that our performance is as advertised.
Q: Isn’t parallel programming really difficult?
It can be for certain architectures, but the Epiphany is very different from previous attempts at massive parallelism. We have many programmers vouching for the ease of use of our architecture, but we invite you to find out for yourself.
Q: Why does energy efficiency matter?
In any portable device, the battery capacity fixed and limited by the acceptable size and weight of the attached battery. The more power you need for processing, the faster the battery runs out. Mobile devices need to have a certain minimal on time to be practical, so in effect the energy efficiency of the processing limits the types of applications that are practical to implement on a given device.
Q: Hasn’t this been done before?
Multicore and multiprocessor architectures have been around almost as long as there have been computers. Adapteva’s technology is just a natural extension of a lot of great multi core architectures from the past. However, Adapteva is unique in being the first company to offer a general purpose C programming model, native floating point capability, and great energy efficiency in an multicore architecture that scales up to thousands of cores on a single die.
Q: Why haven’t other companies been able to create this type of IP in the past? What is Adapteva’s “secret sauce”?
Adapteva has taken a clean-slate approach to multicore design and designed each sub-component specifically for massive multicore processing and for low power embedded computing. This hasn’t been done before and it allowed Adapteva to remove much of the power inefficiency often seen in traditional microprocessors. Another key to our success has been the very tightly coupled optimization flow that considered all aspects of the chip, including performance, ease of use, power, ease of implementation, engineering development costs, and even EDA tool restrictions, etc. We went through over 50 iterations of this architecture before arriving at the final version.
Q: What does Adapteva’s technology mean to the end user markets?
Adapteva’s Epiphany IP will be a give an immediate 10x performance boost to mobile devices without imposing radical changes to the SOC development process or system programming model. The industry has been putting accelerators on SOCs for two decades, the major difference is that the Epiphany accelerator is ANSI-C programmable and supports floating point programs out of the box. The Epiphany IP represents a performance level that will only be reached in 2016 using the traditional multicore technology.
Q: Will Adapteva technology displace the incumbent microprocessors?
No, Adapteva Epiphany is not a replacement of existing microprocessor technology; rather it is multicore acceleration IP that can be integrated next to an existing processor to enable applications that wouldn’t otherwise be possible with a current cache based shared memory multicore solution.
Q: How are programmers going to be impacted by this technology?
Adapteva’s architecture is true ANSI-C programmable and has a powerful optimizing compiler, so an engineer’s existing legacy code or favorite open source library will execute correctly on Adapteva architecture from day one without modification. Once the application is up and running correctly the programmer can start optimizing the application for performance. Using multiple cores to create a fast implementation is done through a robust and well understood task-channel programming model.
Q: What are the current standards for this type of multicore processing?
Epiphany enables placing 1,000 general purpose floating point RISC processors on a single chip. This is an order of magnitude (10x) greater than any previously announced general purpose multicore device.
Q: What industries will be impacted most by this technology?
The military embedded industry will be able to create applications that will fundamentally improve security for the armed forces and save billions in spending and spare the lives of many soldiers and civilians. The health care industry will benefit from having access to powerful commercial mobile platforms for medical diagnostics, ultimately reducing the cost of health care to the consumer. Consumers will benefit by having access to a mobile platform with radically higher performance, allowing them to accomplish things that are hard to imagine on today’s platforms.
Q: Where does the name Adapteva come from?
It is a combination of the Hebrew word “Teva”, meaning nature and adaptable. It signifies that our technology and our company is by nature able and willing to change based on the environment.