Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), a computer chip contract manufacturing and design firm, has decided to suspend production of advanced silicon for Chinese startup Biren Technology, in order to ensure compliance with US regulations, Bloomberg reported on October 23. On the same day, news emerged that one-third of Biren’s employees will be laid off.
Sources familiar with the matter said that Biren claimed its AI graphics processor BR100 far exceeds the A100 chip introduced by NVIDIA in terms of performance, and that NVIDIA’s products have been banned from entering the Chinese market. Although TSMC cannot judge whether Biren’s products meet US requirements, it has decided to suspend supply to Biren.
Founded in 2019, Biren is committed to developing an original general computing system. In terms of its development path, the company first focuses on cloud general intelligent computing, gradually surpassing existing solutions for artificial intelligence training and reasoning, graphics rendering and other fields. Up to now, its investors include Qiming Venture Partners, IDG Capital, Walden International China Fund, GL Ventures, and more, with a total financing amount exceeding 5 billion yuan ($686 million).
Its first high-end general GPU chip, BR100, was released in August. The chip’s 16-bit floating-point computing power reaches over 1000T, the 8-bit fixed-point computing power reaches over 2000T, and the peak computing power of a single chip reaches the petaFLOPS level. Biren claimed that its peak computing power is more than three times that of flagship products sold by global manufacturers.
BR100 adopts the Chiplet design concept, so that the chip area can break through the limitation of mask size and integrate more computing power. In addition, by reducing the area of a single computing core, productivity and yield can be improved, thus greatly reducing the cost of silicon wafers.
Not only can the BR100 be widely used for smart cities, data centers, big data analysis, automated driving, medical and healthcare, life sciences and other fields, but it can also contribute to Chinese strategies on computing power and the digital economy.
At the opening ceremony of the 2022 World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) held on September 1, BR100 won the highest award of the conference – the “Super AI Leader.”