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Ascenium Tops $25 Million In Funding For Next Stage Development

Adds $16 million fresh investment to recruit talent and commercialize Aptos, a new class of general-purpose processor for high-performance, energy-efficient data center computing

Ascenium, Inc. the creator of a new class of general-purpose processor to deliver superior computing performance with lower power consumption into data centers, has secured a new Series A investment of $16 million from Ascenium Holding AS, a private investment holding company based in Stavanger, Norway. This cash infusion brings the total investment in the semiconductor innovator to $25 million. The company aims to substantially grow the team size to support its ongoing development efforts.

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Ascenium’s Aptos, first in a new class of Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) free general-purpose processors, will disrupt data center computing while addressing energy efficiency requirements in today’s data centers. For the first time in more than 50 years, Ascenium will radically redefine the interface between the compiler and the hardware in general-purpose processors. Its industry-challenging Aptos offers a superior approach to general-purpose processor architecture that eliminates the performance bottlenecks and high-power consumption resulting from the overly complex hardware implementation of current CPUs. Ascenium holds nine granted patents and has filed six provisional patents covering all aspects of the Aptos hardware and software.

“We’re grateful that our technical innovation and progress in meeting our business milestones have excited and emboldened our investors,” said Pete Foley, CEO of Ascenium. “This capital infusion enables us to expand our team and accelerate our next stage of development — bringing our industry-changing low-power, high-performance Aptos processor to the market.”

This new investment will fund go-to-market plans as well as accelerate Ascenium’s world-class team staffing effort in Silicon Valley and in both Stavanger and Oslo, Norway. Interested candidates with experience in high-performance processor design, simulation, and implementation, in addition to firmware and compiler engineering,

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“We believe that Aptos technology with its radical new approach represents a quantum leap for general-purpose computing, both for general performance but in particular the amount of compute work done per unit of energy,” said Espen Fjogstad, CEO of Ascenium Holding AS and chairman of Stavanger Venture AS.

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Antiquated processor architecture compounds inefficient power consumption

Accelerated by Deep Learning and 5G wireless technology, the explosive growth of video, audio, and sensor data pouring into data centers is driving significant demand for more servers, which in turn drives data center energy consumption and places significant pressure on available compute resources.

Antiquated processor architecture is a key cause of excessive processor power use. With processors consuming approximately 60% of power in hyperscale data centers, energy costs have become the dominant operating expenditure for large scale data centers. As a result, efficient utilization of compute resources, which drive overall utilization efficiency, is a top priority for the data center industry.

Performance should not be sacrificed to power efficiency, and Ascenium’s Aptos processor also aims to deliver best-in-class single threaded, single-core performance for demanding data center control-plane software needs. Current general-purpose processors are built from a 50-year-old design approach based on the serial instruction stream. This approach has simply run out of gas despite ever-more exotic, transistor-intensive and power-hungry optimization investments.

The Ascenium approach to solving data center compute challenges

Ascenium is redefining how data center processing is done by creating a new disruptive class of processor that eliminates both the ISA and the deep pipeline implementation common to existing processors (see video).

Ascenium’s innovative approach leverages modern compiler advancements to directly control a simple array of compute elements to provide tremendous flexibility and high performance at low power. Leveraging the industry-standard LLVM compiler infrastructure, Ascenium’s compiler better exploits the parallelism available in standard high level programming languages. The Aptos microarchitecture continuously physically evolves in space and time under direct compiler control to optimally implement the functional intent of the user’s program. Ascenium will use the new Series A capital to accelerate improvements in its compiler, which can currently compile large benchmark programs to execute on its FPGA testbed (see video).

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