NeuReality’s First AI Inference Server-on-a-Chip Validated and moved to Production

NeuReality’s 7nm AI-centric NR1 chip moved its final, validated design to TSMC manufacturing, creating the world’s first AI-centric server-on-a-chip (SOC). A major step for the semiconductor industry, NeuReality will transform AI inference solutions used in a wide range of applications – from natural language processing and computer vision to speech recognition and recommendation systems.

With the mass deployment of AI as a service (AIaaS) and infrastructure-hungry applications such as ChatGPT, NeuReality’s solution is crucial for an industry urgently in need of affordable access to modernized, AI inference infrastructure. In trials with AI-centric server systems, NeuReality’s NR1 chip demonstrated 10 times the performance at the same cost when compared to conventional CPU-centric systems. These remarkable results signal NeuReality’s technology as a bellwether for achieving cost-effective, highly-efficient execution of AI inference.

AI Inference traditionally requires significant software activity at eye-watering costs.  NeuReality’s final steps from validated design to manufacturing – known in the industry as “tape-out” – signals a new era of highly integrated, highly scalable AI-centric server architecture.

The NR1 chip represents the world’s first NAPU (or Network Addressable Processing Unit) and will be seen as an antidote to an outdated CPU-centric approach for inference AI, according to Moshe Tanach, Co-Founder and CEO of NeuReality. “In order for Inference-specific deep learning accelerators (DLA) to perform at full capacity, free of existing system bottlenecks and high overheads, our solution stack, coupled with any DLA technology out there, enables AI service requests to be processed faster and more efficiently, ” said Tanach.

“Function for function, hardware runs faster and parallelizes much more than software. As an industry, we’ve proven this model, offloading the deep learning processing function from CPUs to DLAs such as the GPU or ASIC solutions. As in Amdahl’s law, it is time to shift the acceleration focus to the other functions of the system to optimize the whole AI inference processing. NR1 offers an unprecedented competitive alternative to today’s general-purpose server solutions, setting a new standard for the direction our industry must take to fully support the AI Digital Age.” added Tanach.

NeuReality is moving the dial for the industry, empowering the transition from a largely software centric approach to a hardware offloading approach where multiple NR1 chips work in parallel to easily avoid system bottlenecks. Each NR1 chip is a network-attached heterogeneous compute device with multiple tiers of programmable compute engines including PCIe interface to host any DLA; an embedded Network Interface controller (NIC) and an embedded AI-hypervisor, a hardware-based sequencer that controls the compute engines and shifts data structures between them. Hardware acceleration throughout NeuReality’s automated SDK flow lowers the barrier to entry for small, medium, and large organizations that need excellent performance, low power consumption and affordable infrastructure – as well as ease of use for inferencing AI services.

“We are excited about our first generation NAPU product, proven, tested, and ready to move to manufacture. It’s full steam ahead as we reach this highly anticipated manufacturing stage with our TSMC partners. Our plan remains to start shipping product directly to customers by the end of the year,” says Tanach

NeoLogic Unveils Novel Processor Design Technology at 16nm, Promising Significant Power, Cost, and Area Reductions

Israeli processor technology startup NeoLogic is launching a groundbreaking processor design technology that is poised to revolutionize chip design. The company expects to tapeout an ARM processor at 16 nanometers for demonstration this December. The technology and the processor will be available for evaluation to key selected customers.

NeoLogic’s Quasi-CMOS technology serves as a platform for processor design. It delivers high computing power in tandem with reduced power consumption and cost.

The company has completed the development of new, non-existing, standard cells for the 16nm technology node, on top of the existing CMOS standard cells library. NeoLogic’s standard cells are single-stage high fan-in (8 to 16 inputs), among others, leading to up to 50% reduction in power consumption compared to the most advanced equivalent CMOS cells while saving up to 40% of the area.

The technology was conceived to address the increasing workloads in data centers and the need to reduce the high costs associated with developing processors using advanced technology nodes. Designing processors with Quasi-CMOS delivers superior computing power per watt per millimeter square, catering to the escalating workloads of artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analysis, video streaming, and more in data centers.

CMOS technology, which has been the “workhorse” of processor design and fabrication for the past 40 years, is nearing its limits and is challenging to improve. Quasi-CMOS breaks through these limitations by significantly increasing the maximum number of inputs of standard cells and by changing their topology to reduce the number of transistors. This breakthrough benefits the logic synthesis as well as the physical design.

Dr. Avi Messica, Co-founder and CEO of NeoLogic, stated: “Utilizing Quasi-CMOS for processor development delivers a technological leap in performance. Our design technology enables us to design a 16nm processor that delivers performance equivalent to more advanced – sub 16nm – technology nodes, while saving development (NRE) and manufacturing (OPEX) costs. Reducing the processor’s power consumption in data centers leads to significant cost savings (cooling, electricity, infrastructure).”

NeoLogic, which recently secured an 8-million-dollar seed funding, was founded in 2021 by Dr. Avi Messica (CEO) and Ziv Leshem (CTO), both of whom have decades of experience in R&D and management of microprocessors design and fabrication. Dr. Avi Messica (Ph.D. Weizmann Institute of Science) is an expert in solid-state physics and quantum devices and in ultrafast transistors in particular with 26 years of managerial experience in a variety of hi-tech companies. Messica previously served as a device group manager at Tower Semiconductors and has hands-on experience in the design and fabrication of CMOS devices. He also served as VP of Engineering at Shellcase and founded and served as the CEO of three semiconductor companies in the fields of image sensors, MEMS-based optical switches, and photonic chips.

Ziv Leshem has 25 years of experience in processor design. He worked for some of the world’s leading semiconductor companies, such as National Semiconductors, DSPG, and Synopsys, and managed complex processor design projects. He was one of the founders of LogixL, a company that developed a hardware-based HDL simulator and also served as a manager at NewSight Imaging, a developer of LiDAR and iTOF sensors. Before founding NeoLogic he was the manager of the physical design group at Inomize where he managed a group of engineers and developed processors for customers in various industrial sectors in CMOS technologies ranging from 40nm to 7nm.

SatixFy to sell its Satellite Payload Division

SatixFy Communications from Rehovot, Israel, announced  a $60 million transaction with Canada based MDA Ltd. The deal is a combination of a $40 million share purchase agreement, selling SatixFy Space Systems UK to MDA as well as an additional $20 million in advanced payments under new commercial agreements which includes the previous $10 million advanced payment made in June to be applied to future orders of chips.

SatixFy will continue to retain all its related ASIC intellectual property and new chips’ development for satellite digital payloads. The transaction is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2023. Nir Barkan, Acting CEO of SatixFy, said the company has recently took a strategic decision to focus on its core competencies of developing and providing novell chipsets supporting multi beam digital antennas and on board processing for the space industry and advanced ground terminals.

SatixFy develops end-to-end digital satellite communications systems: satellite payloads, user terminals and modems, based on powerful chipsets that it develops in house. It products are based on Software Defined Radio (SDR), Fully Electronically Steered Multi Beam Antennas (ESMA) and Beamforming that support the advanced communications standard DVB-S2X. The deal aimed to support a recovery process after SatixFy’S 2022 revenues had dropped to $10.6 million, compared with $21.7 million in 2021.

Intel and Tower Announce Foundry Agreement

Photo above: Intel’s Fab 11X in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Credit: Intel Inc.

Less than a month after the termination of a planned merger between Intel and Tower Seniconductor, the two companies announced a largescale production agreement: Intel will provide foundry services and 300mm manufacturing capacity to help Tower serve its customers globally. Tower will utilize Intel’s manufacturing facility in Rio Rancho, New Mexico (Fab 11X), and will invest up to $300 million to acquire and own equipment and other fixed assets to be installed in the facility.

The rearranement of the fab will provide production capacity of over 600,000 photo layers per month. Intel will manufacture Tower’s 65-nanometer power management BCD (bipolar-CMOS-DMOS) and radio frequency silicon on insulator (RF SOI) solutions flows. Stuart Pann, Intel senior vice president and general manager of Intel Foundry Services (IFS) explained during Goldman Sachs Communacopia & Technology Conference this week, that intel had unused capacity in Fab 11X, because it is an older factory for older technologies.

Initial Production in 2025

Pann: “We found a way to do contract manufacturing to take advantage of that extra space. Those older tools that we aren’t using, taking some investment from Tower to finish out the line.” The parties plan to achieve full process flow qualification in 2024, and to begin with full mass production in 2025. Tower CEO Russell Ellwanger said: “We see this collaboration as a first step towards multiple unique synergistic solutions with Intel.”

Tower provides foundry services for Analog semicinductor devices. It offers a broad range of customizable process platforms such as SiGe, BiCMOS, mixed-signal/CMOS, RF CMOS, CMOS image sensor, non-imaging sensors, integrated power management (BCD and 700V), and MEMS. Tower owns two manufacturing facilities in Israel (150mm and 200mm), two in the U.S. (200mm), two facilities in Japan (200mm and 300mm) which it owns through its 51% holdings in TPSCo and is sharing with ST a 300mm manufacturing facility in Italy .

Countering Drones with Cyber Warefare

D-Fend Solutions from Ra’anana, Israel, announced this week its new RF cyber-based counter-drone takeover system, EnforceAir2. This highly mobile non-kinetic solution consists of multiple receivers and transmitters and real-time processing in a compact form factor, enabling tactical teams to overcome deployment challenges on the field. The system was adopted by the US DoD, who has ordered over $3 million worth of EnforceAir counter-drone security systems and components to various United States federal security agencies.

But what makes the EnforceAir an interesting product is its concept: instead of using classical sensors and counter measures, D-Fend adopted techniques and methods brought from the world of cyber warefare, and had stacked them over a wireless layer. Legacy counter-drone systems rely on sensors such as radars, electro-optical sensors and RF directional finders. Older radar systems can detect larger aircraft but often cannot track drones.

The limitations of Legacy Systems

Modern anti-drone radar systems cannot always differentiate between small drones and other flying objects such as birds. Radars are also impacted by weather and are sensitive to refractions and reflections, which can lead to multiple signals from different directions originating from the same object being received by the radar.

Electro-optical sensors are used for identification of drones, but they are usually triggered by other detection and tracking systems, such as radars. When combined with radars, they are used as a validation technology to reduce the number of false detections. The biggest disadvantage of EO/IR solutions for detection is that they require a clear and direct line-of-sight, which is not always available in dense, crowded, or urban environments. Darkness, fog and rain can also hinder the effectiveness of EO/IR detection solutions.

RF directional finders utilize sensors to detect and track UAVs. They monitor common frequency bands that they can match to a library of drone control signal profiles to classify these types of signals and can estimate the radial direction these signals come from. They may not be able to identify specific airframes or provide the most accurate real-time location of the drone. In addition, in urban and complex terrains, directional finders may point to the wrong direction due to RF reflections from objects like buildings or mountains.

Hacking Hostile Drones

D-Fend idea combines wireless expertise with cyber practices. EnforceAir systems continuously scan and detect unique communication signals used by commercial drones. Once detected, the solution analyzes the drone’s information and protocols,  for a classification process, and tag specific drones as authorized or unauthorized. The system can extract the telemetry information, to determine the type of drone and its accurate position. This includes the take-off position and often also the pilot position in real-time.

Cyber solutions do not require a quiet environment, a direct line-of-sight and is not affected by weather conditions. Once an hostile drone is detected, the system can activate Takeover procedure: Taking over command of the drone and directing it to follow a predetermined route and to safely land in a prearranged location.

Intel Announced the Termination of Tower’s Acquisition

After it had failed to recieve the needed approval of Chinese regulators, , Intel Corporation announced that it has mutually agreed with Tower Semiconductor to terminate its previously disclosed agreement to acquire Tower. On February 15, 2022 Intel and Tower Semiconductor announced a definitive agreement under which Intel will acquire Tower for $53 per share in cash, representing a total enterprise value of approximately $5.4 billion. The aimed to strenthen Intel’s IDM 2.0 strategy to become a leading chip production services provider (foundry).

But during the last 18 months, the US-China tension proved to be a stronger force than Intel’s ambitions, and even after the deal had received across the board approvals, the Chinese authorities made no effort to proceed, and actually waited until it will be clear that no approvel is expexted to be given in the near future. “Our respect for Tower has only grown through this process” said Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel, “and we will continue to look for opportunities to work together in the future.”

Russell Ellwanger, Tower Semiconductor CEO, said: “We appreciate the efforts by all parties.  During the past 18 months, we’ve made significant technological, operational, and business advancements. We are well positioned to continue to drive our strategic priorities and short-, mid- and long-term tactics with a continued focus on top and bottom-line growth.”

Tower Semiconductor provides a broad range of customizable process platforms such as SiGe, BiCMOS, mixed-signal/CMOS, RF CMOS, CMOS image sensor, non-imaging sensors, integrated power management (BCD and 700V), and MEMS. It owns two manufacturing facilities in Israel (150mm and 200mm), two in the U.S. (200mm), three facilities in Japan (two 200mm and one 300mm) which it owns through its 51% holdings in TPSCo and is sharing a 300mm manufacturing facility being established in Italy with ST.

During the last year it faced a slight decline in sales, from $847 millions in H1 2022, to approximately $713 million in H1 2023. until this morning Tower was traded in NASDAQ in valuation of 3.85 billion – 20% below the deal valuation. It means that many investors preculated the deal will fail. Following the deal termination, Tower’s share lost additional 10%, bringing its valuation to approximately $3.5 billion


Judicial reforms weaken Israel’s Technology Ecosystem

photo above: Anti-government demonstration in Tel aviv last month. Photo: Techtime

A major judicial reform planned by the elected government to reduce the power of the supreme court, and widespread civil resistance to this reform, are shaking social stability in Israel. Now it begins to take its toll on the local technology sector, the acclaimed jewel in the crown of Israel’s econoy. A new report published by Start-Up Nation Central, reveals the scope of the crisis in the Israeli High Tech sector.

The July 2023 survey questionnaire was completed by 734 professionals, representing 521 companies: 119 investors and 615 respondents from Startup/tech companies. The findings are dramatic especially when it comes to relocation plans: 68% of Israeli startup companies have begun taking active legal and financial steps, like withdrawing cash reserves, changing HQ location outside Israel, relocation of employees and conducting layoffs. Among them, 22% of companies have alredy diversified cash reserves outside Israel and 37% of investors say companies in their portfolios have withdrawn some of their cash reserves and moved them abroad.
Relocation is a serious and slow process: 8% of companies report that they have already begun the process of changing HQ locations, and 29% reported their intention to do so in the near future. 20% of investors note that companies in their portfolios have begun changing HQ location and 69% of investors noted that companies in their portfolios intend to do this in the future.

Looking for recovery signs

The current political instability is also shaking the local VC industry: Investments outside Israel are growing as a component in Israeli VC investment strategy, and. 67% of investors are investing or are considering to invest in foreign companies. While 65% of investors already see signs of recovery in the US venture capital market or believe they will see them in the coming six months, only 12% of investors in Israel, observe this trend.

Ireversible process

The report is troubleing because tecnology is the leading and most important sector of the Israeli economy. The CEO of Start-Up Nation Central, Avi Hasson, said: “Companies and investors are taking active steps to move activity away from Israel and this behavior has increased significantly over the past three months.” He said that the damage may deep and hard to recover: “Concerning trends like registering a company abroad or launching new start-ups outside Israel will be hard to reverse.”