UPMEM debuts initial processing in-memory chip accelerating big data applications

UPMEM, a fabless semiconductor startup company, announced recently UPMEM Processing In-Memory (PIM), the next generation hardware solution for data intensive applications in the data center, solving server-level efficiency and performance bottlenecks. UPMEM’s programmer friendly acceleration technology is much awaited for by big data players as Moore’s law is fading away.

The PIM chip, integrating UPMEM’s proprietary RISC processors (DRAM Processing Units, DPUs) and main memory (DRAM), is the building block of the first efficient, scalable and programmable acceleration solution for big data applications.

Associated with its Software Development Kit, the UPMEM PIM solution can accelerate data-intensive applications in the datacenter servers 20 times, with close to zero additional energy premium. This huge leap opens new horizons for Big Data players, in terms of costs and new services.

UPMEM is building a PIM solution based on an innovative processor architecture to enable the computation of data intensive operations into hundreds of programmable coprocessors sitting right next to the data. Big data applications leveraging UPMEM PIM solution are modified to dispatch and orchestrate the tasks executed by the coprocessors, from the main CPU using high-level programming languages. The UPMEM team, mixing both worldwide microelectronics and system software experts, is based in Grenoble, the French center for microelectronics and semiconductors.

“The new generation of data intensive applications can no longer be easily handled by traditional CPUs,” said Gilles Hamou, CEO and co-founder of UPMEM. “Initial benchmarks by our partners validate the game-changing added-value of UPMEM PIM technology, as well as the strong fit of its programming model for a large scope of real world data-intensive applications.”

“Faster and more efficient data analytics require new datacentric application architectures, positioning compute nearer the data,” said Western Digital iMemory Project leader Robin O’Neill. “The UPMEM Processing In-Memory solution is particularly relevant and highly promising for a variety of data analytics use cases, without dramatic changes to server architectures.”

UPMEM’s technology solves the Memory Wall and the dominant energy cost of data movement between the processor and its main memory in application servers. Thousands of UPMEM in-memory co-processors (DRAM Processing Units, aka DPUs) orchestrated by the main processor, localize most of data processing in the memory chips, while proposing familiar programmability.

Besides, the UPMEM solution comes without any disruption of existing server hardware, standardized protocols, programming & compiling schemes, removing any barrier for fast & massive adoption. For instance, the UPMEM solution provides a full DNA mapping and variance analysis in minutes instead of hours, making affordable real-time personalized genomics a reality.

The financing round will enable the company to produce and bring to market its disruptive Processing In-Memory (PIM) chip-based solution. In parallel, UPMEM will accelerate its evaluation programs with top tier global big data customers and IT labs, using available programming and simulation tools.

UPMEM obtained this series A financing from actors engaged in semiconductors and with a strong footprint in Europeand the US: C4Ventures, Partech Ventures, Supernova Invest, Western Digital Capital, Crédit Agricole bank, and entrepreneurs from the data center and micro electronics industry led by Etix CEO Charles-Antoine Beyney. Reza Malekzadeh from Partech Ventures and Charles-Antoine Beyney will join the UPMEM board of directors.

“Data intensive use cases are severally constrained by the Memory Wall issue,” explains Olivier Huez, Partner at C4 Ventures. “We’ve looked far and wide and UPMEM’s founders have built the only company on the market which can address this seamlessly and deliver such an impressive uplift in performance.”

“We are no longer in an era were CPUs and other hardware getting continuously faster would mask the slow speed of inefficient software,” said Reza Malekzadeh, General Partner at Partech Ventures. “UPMEM’s solution addresses the performance needs of modern scale-out applications while preserving datacenter and infrastructure hardware investments.”

“The PIM concept is not new in itself,” said Christophe Desrumaux, Investment Director at Supernova Invest. “But UPMEM brings together a world class team, an innovative patented approach without any hardware compatibility disruption, and a full set of design tools that make it widely adoptable by users.”

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