30 June 2023
Celestial AI raises $100m in Series B funding
Celestial AI of Santa Clara, CA, USA, creator of the Photonic Fabric, has raised $100m in Series B funding led by IAG Capital Partners, Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT) and Temasek’s Xora Innovation fund. Other major investors in the round include Samsung Catalyst, Smart Global Holdings (SGH), Porsche Automobil Holding SE, The Engine Fund, imec.xpand, M Ventures and Tyche Partners. Celestial AI’s Photonic Fabric technology platform delivers optical connectivity performance levels that are claimed to be ten years more advanced than existing technology offerings.
The era of electrical connectivity limiting data transmission is ending, as optical interconnectivity becomes the foundational building block for accelerated computing, says Celestial AI. Today’s advanced artificial intelligence (AI) models require exponentially increasing memory capacity and bandwidth, as Large Language Models (LLM) including GPT-4 used for ChatGPT and Recommendation Engines are memory bound rather than compute bound. Cloud service providers (CSPs) and hyperscale data centers are unable to decouple memory scaling from compute (often referred to as the ‘memory-wall’ challenge). Low bandwidth, high latency and high-power electrical interconnects are consequential barriers to growth of profitable AI business models and advancements in AI. As a result, optical compute interconnect (OCI) is said to be the only viable solution to enable disaggregation of scalable data-center memory and accelerated computing. Additionally, optically interconnected pooled memory systems address the largest contributor to data-center economic inefficiency – stranded memory.
After close collaboration with hyperscalers, AI compute and memory providers, Celestial AI is introducing the Photonic Fabric, the optical interconnect for disaggregated, exascale compute and memory clusters. Photonic Fabric is said to be unconstrained by package beachfront limitations and can deliver data to any location on the compute die, directly to the point of consumption. The bandwidth delivered by the Photonic Fabric is 25x greater and delivers more than 10x lower latency and power consumption than any optical interconnect alternative, such as co-packaged optics (CPO).
“Generative AI and Recommendation Engines, which today are running on general purpose computing systems, have already begun to measurably impact business processes, products and services,” notes Celestial AI’s founder & CEO Dave Lazovsky. “A rapid transition will take place in the coming years as global data-center infrastructure transitions from general purpose to accelerated computing systems. This next wave of data-center infrastructure is being architected to deliver tremendous advancements in AI workload efficiencies, resulting from disaggregation of memory and compute resources which is enabled by optical interconnectivity.”
Celestial AI is building a robust Photonic Fabric ecosystem consisting of AI compute, memory suppliers, hyperscalers and high-volume commercial supply chain partners. The technology is compatible with existing industry standards including CXL, PCIe, UCIe, JEDEC HBM, and proprietary electrical communication links. Celestial AI is offering its Photonic Fabric optical interconnect technology and silicon-proven IP through a technology licensing program.
“Celestial AI has developed a transformational optical connectivity capability that will deliver step-change advancements in both performance and energy efficiency of high-performance computing, unlocking the potential of generative AI and other complex workloads,” comments Koch Disruptive Technologies’ founder & CEO Chase Koch. “This could be a truly disruptive moment for advanced computing,” he believes.
Celestial AI offers a suite of Photonic Fabric technology solutions to provide independent scalability of compute and memory resources. Customers can leverage the Photonic Fabric as an extension to their existing compute platforms (GPUs, CPUs and accelerators) through licensable IP or can harness the full end-to-end benefits of the Photonic Fabric with Celestial AI’s Orion AI accelerator. The Photonic Fabric also enables industry-first production deployments of optically interconnected high-capacity, high-bandwidth composable memory systems.