Graphcore is a British semiconductor company that develops accelerators for AI and machine learning. It aims to make a massively parallel Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU) that holds the complete machine learning model inside the processor.
Graphcore was founded in 2016 by Simon Knowles and Nigel Toon.
In the autumn of 2016, Graphcore secured a first funding round lead by Robert Bosch Venture Capital. Other backers include Samsung, Amadeus Capital Partners, C4 Ventures, Draper Esprit, Foundation Capital, and Pitango Capital. In July 2017, Graphcore secured a round B funding lead by Atomico, which was followed a few months later by $50 million in funding from Sequoia Capital. In December 2018, Graphcore closed its series D with $200 million raised at a $1.7 billion valuation, making the company a unicorn. Investors included Microsoft, Samsung and Dell Technologies. On 13 November 2019 Graphcore announced that their Graphcore C2 IPUs are available for preview on Microsoft Azure.
In 2016, Graphcore announced the world's first graph tool chain designed for machine intelligence called Poplar Software Stack.
In July 2017, Graphcore announced their first chip, called the Colossus GC2, a "16 nm massively parallel, mixed-precision floating point processor", first available in 2018. Packaged with two chips on a single PCI Express card called the Graphcore C2 IPU, it is stated to perform the same role as a GPU in conjunction with standard machine learning frameworks such as TensorFlow. The device relies on scratchpad memory for its performance rather than traditional cache hierarchies.
In July 2020, Graphcore presented hardware using a second generation processor called GC200 built in TSMC's 7nm FinFET manufacturing process. GC200 is a 59 billion transistor, 823 square millimeter integrated circuit with 1,472 computational cores and 900 Mbyte of local memories.