BMW i Ventures has made a strategic investment in Graphcore, a company developing a new kind of computer processor and software specifically designed for machine intelligence. The investment is part of a new $200-million funding round for Graphcore, which values the company at $1.7 billion and brings the total capital raised to more than $300 million.
Since the company’s founding only two years ago, Graphcore has helped innovators create next-generation machine intelligence solutions. Graphcore’s Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU) is the first processor to be designed specifically for Machine Intelligence and delivers higher speeds compared to conventional hardware, the company says.
The IPU has been optimized to work efficiently on the extremely complex high-dimensional models needed for machine intelligence workloads. It emphasizes massively parallel, low-precision floating-point compute and provides much higher compute density than other solutions.
The versatility of Graphcore’s IPU—which supports multiple machine learning techniques with high efficiency—is well-suited for a wide variety of applications from intelligent voice assistants to self-driving vehicles. With the flexibility to use the same processor in both a data center and a vehicle, Graphcore’s IPU also presents the possibility of reductions in development times and complexity.—Tobias Jahn, Principal at BMW i Ventures
BMW i Ventures says the investment is a further step towards fulfilling the company’s ambition to build a global technology company, focused on this new and fast-growing machine intelligence market.