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Korean startup FuriosaAI's Warboy overtakes Nvidia

FuriosaAI's first silicon chip Warboy performed higher in object detection and image classification at MLPerf 2021

By Sep 23, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Korean startup FuriosaAI's Warboy overtakes Nvidia

South Korea-based artificial intelligence semiconductor startup FuriosaAI Inc.'s silicon chip has delivered higher performance than the US-based chip giant Nvidia’s T4 in a recent round of MLPerf inference benchmark, according to FuriosaAI on Sept. 23.

According to the MLPerf benchmark results, FuriosaAI's Warboy performed about 1.5 times better than Nvidia T4 in object detection and image classification, highlighting Warboy’s cost-performance ratio since T4 is about 2.5 times to 3 times more expensive.

Warboy is a chip designed for high-performance computer vision. It is exceptional at detecting and classifying images and videos, providing support for around 300 AI models. FuriosaAI expects Warboy to become an efficient solution for data centers and high-performance edge computing segments.

MLPerf is a global annual AI semiconductor benchmark event hosted by MLCommons, a non-profit organization set up by global companies including Google, Samsung Electronics, Intel, Qualcomm and Microsoft alongside universities such as Stanford and Harvard. 

In 2019, FuriosaAI became the first Asia-based startup to be verified by MLPerf. And two years later, the company has become the only startup to submit results from its own silicon chip, Warboy.

MLPerf v1.1 single-stream performance comparison between Warboy and T4 (Courtesy of FuriosaAI)
MLPerf v1.1 single-stream performance comparison between Warboy and T4 (Courtesy of FuriosaAI)


In the first half of next year, FuriosaAI plans to commercialize the first-generation chip Warboy, which will be mass-produced via Samsung Electronics’ foundry. The company has been testing Warboy in various areas including metaverse, cloud data centers, autonomous driving, live streaming and smart retail.

The company is also developing next-generation chips that provide high-performance support for hyperscale AI models. FuriosaAI is looking to unveil the new chips during the first half of 2023.

“We're planning on expanding our team to create a powerful server AI chip that will be second to none in the global market," said June Paik, the chief executive of FuriosaAI.

According to Paik, the company plans to inject over 100 billion won in next-generation chip development to dominate all of MLPerf's categories.

Founded in 2017, FuriosaAI has been committed to developing hardware and software used to make high-performing AI chips. The company’s team is made up of seasoned experts from Samsung Electronics, Apple, Qualcomm, AMD, Google and Amazon.

To date, the company has attracted 80 billion won ($68 million) from investors including Naver D2SF, DSC Investment and the Korea Development Bank -- noted as the largest amount raised for an AI chip company.

Write to Han-gyeol Seon at always@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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