European Processor Initiative spins off SiPearl to commercialize the EPI microprocessor


21 Jan 2020 Maisons-Laffitte - SiPearl is the name of a company that is bringing the European Processor Initiative (EPI) consortium's technology to market. EPI is designing the high-performance, low-power microprocessor for the European exascale supercomputer funded by EuroHPC. This new generation of microprocessors should help ensure Europe's technological sovereignty on the strategic markets for high performance computing (HPC), artificial intelligence and connected mobility. SiPearl will be managed by Philippe Notton who is also General Manager of EPI.

SiPearl is now the 27th member of the European Processor Initiative (EPI) consortium, alongside research institutes, universities, supercomputing centres and leading names from the IT, electronics and automotive sectors.

SiPearl will be developing and marketing the next generation of high-performance, low-power microprocessors. As a natural candidate to equip the future European exascale supercomputer, SiPearl and its solutions will help drive the development of the European market for high performance computing (HPC), as well as its strategic applications such as artificial intelligence and connected mobility.

High performance computing is crucial for meeting a growing range of increasingly complex strategic challenges. Historically used for research, weather forecasting, oil and gas prospecting, defence, chemicals and finance, etc., it has become essential for supporting the deployment of artificial intelligence, connected mobility, smart cities, bioengineering, cybersecurity, and personalised medicine.

Europe, dependent on non-European technologies for processing strategic data

However, for processing data for these strategic sectors, Europe faces two major issues:

  • It is dependent on non-European technologies. While it uses more than one third of the world's high performance computing resources, Europe produces less than 5% of them, and none of the microprocessors that equip its supercomputers are European.
  • Its facilities have significantly lower capabilities than those in the United States and China. Number 6 in the global rankings, Europe's most powerful supercomputer is seven times slower and its energy efficiency is two times lower than the world number 1 - the Oak Ridge supercomputer in Tennessee.

Europe's response to ensure its independence on the high performance computing market

To secure its independence and leadership on the global high performance computing market, the European Union responded by launching two flagship initiatives in 2017. While the EuroHPC joint undertaking aims to deploy a world-class high performance computing infrastructure in Europe, the EPI consortium was selected to draw up, maintain and lead the roadmap for developing a range of high-performance, low-power microprocessors in Europe to equip supercomputers in particular.

SiPearl, created within the EPI to commercialise the resulting microprocessor

As part of the EPI consortium, with support from its members, which are its stakeholders and potential users, and backing from Europe, SiPearl was created in June 2019 by Philippe Notton to develop and bring to market the range of microprocessors set out with the joint roadmap.

Dedicated high-performance, low-power microprocessor for three strategic applications

Drawing on its know-how, combining performance, sovereignty and security, SiPearl will integrate the best technologies from its partners and its proprietary technologies, working closely with the EPI members, to design and market its range of microprocessors with a view to:

  • Driving high performance computing's transition to exascale,
  • Equipping the first open acceleration platform enabling artificial intelligence startups to develop their proprietary solutions with very limited licensing costs,
  • Supporting the deployment of connected mobility thanks to secure end-to-end data processing from the network edge to the cloud: from vehicles to smart cities and the cloud.

"By delivering supercomputing power, energy efficiency and backdoor-free security, the solutions that we are developing with support from the EPI members will enable Europe to gain its independence and, more importantly, to ensure its technological sovereignty on the market for high performance computing, which has become one of the key drivers for economic growth", explained Philippe Notton, SiPearl’s CEO.

Philippe Notton is a senior executive with deep semiconductor expertise.

During his career, Philippe Notton (49, Supélec Engineer, Executive MBA from ESSEC & Mannheim) has built up outstanding expertise in the multimedia, semiconductor and security fields. Starting from scratch, he successfully led the set-top box division of the Taiwan-based MStar Semiconductor to become number 3 worldwide and number 1 in Asia for pay-television semiconductors. In 2017, after heading up STMicroelectronics' Consumer division, he joined the Atos Group to set up the European Processor Initiative consortium.

To lead SiPearl, Philippe Notton is surrounding himself with a team of experienced professionals with complementary areas of expertise in various fields, including high performance computing, research and development, chip design and IT architecture. Various key appointments will be announced over the coming weeks.

Please, also read our interview with Jean-Marc Denis, Chairman of the Board for the European Processor Initiative:

Ad Emmen (based on Press Release by SiPearl)