Rapidus, Esperanto Ally on High Tech ICs in AI Era

Rapidus Corporation has confirmed cooperating with Esperanto Technologies Inc., which leads in energy-efficient RISC-V-based computing solutions. Specifically, the two companies intend to promote developing and manufacturing low-power consumption artificial intelligence (AI) semiconductors for data centers. Accordingly, these technologies will be indispensable in the coming full-fledged AI era.

Critical Cooperation

Esperanto develops high-performance, energy-efficient AI/machine learning computing solutions based on the open standard RISC-V instruction set architecture. Furthermore, the company has semiconductor design technology that achieves high energy efficiency in the fields of generative AI and high-performance computing (HPC).

Last September, Rapidus began the construction of its Innovative Integration for Manufacturing (IIM) facility in Chitose City, Hokkaido. This will be Japan’s first facility to produce state-of-the-art logic semiconductors at 2nm and beyond.

Moreover, Rapidus has been dispatching researchers to the Albany Nanotech Complex in New York, one of the world’s most advanced semiconductor research centers, to work with IBM to develop technologies in producing 2nm logic semiconductors.

The company is also planning to acquire from imec EUV lithography technology, which is essential for the production of cutting-edge semiconductors.

Utilizing these technologies, the company plans to start operation of a pilot production line at IIM-1 in April 2025, and begin mass production in 2027.

Dramatically Reducing Power Consumption

As society enters the full-fledged AI era represented by generative AI, power consumption in data centers is increasing. According to the International Energy Agency, data centers are significant drivers of growth in electricity demand in many regions. Global estimate consumption tallies at 460TWh in 2022, data centers’ total electricity consumption could reach more than 1,000 TWh in 2026. In fact, this demand is equivalent to the entire electricity consumption of Japan.

Updated regulations and technological improvements, including on energy efficiency, will be crucial to moderate the surge in energy consumption from data centers. (Source: “Electricity 2024” ©International Energy Agency)

With the 2nm node semiconductors, Rapidus aims to manufacture more advanced than conventional semiconductors. Thus, enabling improved processing performance and dramatically reduced power consumption. Esperanto, meanwhile, has been developing products with superior energy efficiency for generative AI, HPC and edge devices.

Complements Demand of AI Era

By collaborating early on the co-optimization between the design and manufacture of next-generation semiconductors, the two companies aim to develop energy-efficient products for the AI era.

“The strategic partnership with Rapidus plays a key role in our expansion plans for Japan,” said Art Swift, CEO of Esperanto Technologies Inc. moreover, Swift said, “Rapidus represents a new approach to leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing, and we are very impressed with the direction and speed at which they are operating. Along with our other partners in Japan, we hope our new relationship with Rapidus will extend the benefits of our energy efficient technology to a broader set of SoC designers.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Atsuyoshi Koike, president and CEO of Rapidus said part of the company’s commitment is to innovate to achieve a truly green society. “As we enter the age of full-fledged AI, it is imperative to design and manufacture semiconductors with superior energy-saving performance. (We) believe that this collaboration with Esperanto is a major step toward solving this issue.”

16 May 2024