Graphcore: accelerating AI and machine learning

Nigel Toons (CEO) and Simon Knowles (CTO) both founded the company

We are delighted to announce our latest investment in Graphcore, the company changing the face of AI and machine learning through its cutting edge processing capabilities.

Machine intelligence applications are revolutionising areas such as autonomous vehicles, natural language processing and personalised medicine. However, these applications require vast amounts of compute power and conventional microprocessors are not well suited to developing or executing these applications efficiently.

Graphcore are revolutionising this process. Over the past two years they have gathered an exceptionally talented team to build a new processor architecture that is designed from the ground up to accelerate machine intelligence.

The technology at Graphcore is centred around an accelerator processor called the Intelligent Processor Unit (IPU). This is a fundamentally new type of system designed to optimise the processing of the complex multi-dimensional models that machine intelligence requires.

The story of Graphcore is not just compelling because of the growth potential, but because its technology is indispensable if we want to see major, rapid advancements in Artificial Intelligence across all industries. Graphcore processors will be used in machine intelligence applications from autonomous vehicles to personalised healthcare, intelligent mobile devices to natural language dialogue and collaborative robots. These problems require a processor architecture offering a higher compute density than any other solution available today and these applications will change the way in which we all use technology in the future.

We are excited to be working again with Nigel and Simon, alongside Bosch, Foundation and Amadeus and to have Samsung as strategic investors. Europe’s track record in advanced processor designs goes back to the earliest days of computing and Graphcore is a great example of companies such as XMOS, Picochip and Icera driving the next stage of processor innovation. Where our portfolio company Movidius (recently acquired by Intel) enabled the execution of machine intelligence applications on devices at the edge of the network, Graphcore will accelerate the development and deployment of machine intelligence in the cloud.

We are thrilled to be partnering with Graphcore as they power research and innovation in AI and machine learning.

Brian Caulfield, Investing Partner