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Celestial AI Raises $56 Million Series A To Disrupt The Artificial Intelligence Chip Industry With A New Photonic-Electronic Platform

From single node to exascale systems, Celestial AI’s approach alters computing by employing light for data flow within and between processors, enabling scalability with optical access to memory and compute. 

Celestial AI is a machine learning accelerator business with a proprietary hardware and software architecture. Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT) recently announced a $56 million Series A investment led by Temasek’s Xora Innovation fund, The Engine, a venture firm spun out of MIT, Tyche Partners, Merck’s corporate venture fund, M-Ventures, IMEC XPand, and Fitz Gate, a venture capital investor in the Princeton University ecosystem.

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The funds will be utilized to expand the company’s worldwide engineering workforce, product development, and strategic supplier relationships, including Broadcom, to produce the Orion AI accelerator solutions. Celestial AI’s objective is to revolutionize computing by developing a new processing system based on their patented Photonic FabricTM technology platform that moves data using light.

Introduction

“Celestial AI has created an architecture that grows uniquely across multi-chip systems, considerably reducing the development burden on AI teams bringing new products to market,” says the company. “We believe Celestial AI’s competitive edge will only grow over time as the world transitions to increasingly complex AI models,” said Phil Inagaki, Managing Director of Xora Innovation.

Robust silicon photonics technology and volume manufacturing ecosystems have emerged as a result of breakthroughs in data communications. Machine Learning (ML) and high-performance computing (HPC) solutions that use integrated silicon photonics for data transfer are ready for commercialization. Data mobility is the most significant contributor to system power in AI computing applications, and most top competitive designs are exchanging substantial power savings for higher system and software complexity. Celestial AI’s Photonic Fabric offers optically addressable memory and processing (within chip and chip-to-chip), freeing their technology from electrical restrictions and Moore’s Law slowing.

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Their proprietary architecture allows for simple, elegant system software, allowing for very efficient data and compute mapping without the need for sophisticated optimizations. The Photonic Fabric democratizes optical access to practically limitless memory and compute, extending this software advantage to multi-chip exascale systems. Celestial AI’s Orion AI accelerator solutions target a market worth more than $70 billion in 2025, according to Omida.

Advantages

  • Domain-specific architectures aimed at AI workloads can compensate for some of the CMOS slowdowns, but this method has its limitations. 
  • Celestial AI allows step-change breakthroughs in AI computing by incorporating photonics into accelerators for AI workloads. 
  • Today’s power budgets limit chip and server systems (Thermal Design Power or TDP). 
  • The Celestial AI Photonic Fabric allows the fixed power budget from data transfer to computing to be redistributed, resulting in long-term and expanding performance advantages over all electronic-only alternatives. 
  • Every joule saved on data transfer can be used on computation.
  • Celestial AI’s accelerator architecture’s scalability allows for fast and performant data and computes mapping across a wide range of ML model types without the need for complicated software optimizations.

“Celestial AI has created an architecture that grows uniquely across multi-chip systems, considerably reducing the development burden on AI teams bringing new products to market,” says the company. “We believe Celestial AI’s competitive edge will only grow over time as the world transitions to increasingly complex AI models,” said Phil Inagaki, Managing Director of Xora Innovation.

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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