SiPearl was founded by Philippe Notton, who is also the CEO of the company. He is a Supélec engineer in EE with an Executive MBA from ESSEC & Mannheim, and has built his career in the multimedia, semiconductor, and security fields. The company's primary focus is designing a high-performance low-power microprocessor for European exascale supercomputing and High-Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructures.
The idea of designing a high-end microprocessor in Europe had been a long-standing personal project of Philippe, which he could not let go of. It kept him up at night for a long time before he created SiPearl in June 2019. He had worked as a senior executive in France, the UK, and the US for market-leading groups, including Thomson, Canal+, LSI Logic, STMicroelectronics, Atos as well as a successful Taiwanese startup, MStar Semiconductor, sold to MediaTek in 2012 for USD 4B.
Pioneering European Sovereignty in Microprocessor Design
The company's primary focus is designing a European microprocessor dedicated to HPC. Today, supercomputers and HPC infrastructures are instrumental in meeting major challenges in medical research, climate change mitigation, and energy management. However, European supercomputers and HPC infrastructures mostly use non-European technologies. This lack of European sovereign technology has severe implications for Europe's security, competitiveness, and intellectual property in strategic markets.
SiPearl's solution to tackling this problem is designing the European microprocessor dedicated to HPC, which will process vast volumes of sensitive data in a fraction of a second with backdoor-free security. Due to its high-performance energy-efficient Arm Neoverse V1 architecture, its microprocessor will deliver extraordinary compute performance and efficiency with an unmatched Byte/Flop ratio. It will meet the needs of all supercomputing workloads.
SiPearl's Journey: From Vision to Reality
SiPearl's original vision came in 2015 while Philippe was leading a division of 2,400 engineers at STMicroelectronics. In 2017, he joined Atos to launch the European Processor Initiative (EPI) consortium, which aimed to foster the return of high-performance microprocessor design in Europe. With the help of the European Union and the EuroHPC ecosystem, he founded the company as a spin-off of this programme. SiPearl has grown to over 120 employees in France, Germany, and Spain, and continues to grow at a fast pace. They are well advanced in the design of their first-generation microprocessor, code-named Rhea, and sampling is scheduled for the end of the year. To support their future commercial rollout in Europe, they have concluded strategic partnerships with global leaders in acceleration solutions (AMD, Intel, NVIDIA) and the HPC industry (Atos, HPE).
In just three years, SiPearl has assembled the most successful team in the European semiconductor industry. Philippe recruited the best experts and managers he has met in his 25-year career, and they came from Atos, STMicroelectronics, Marvell, Intel, Nokia, SierraWireless, MediaTek.
Revolutionising the European Microprocessing Industry
SiPearl is building the highest-end microprocessor, which is the flagship of the microelectronics industry. It is the most complex product and the foundation for all technological innovations.
The company plans to make a significant difference in the future of supercomputing and HPC. The microprocessor will help Europe address strategic, scientific, environmental, industrial, and societal challenges while dramatically limiting the carbon footprint of supercomputing and HPC. This is a significant step towards a greener future, which is in line with the global shift towards sustainable development.
The current situation has had a beneficial impact on the business. Firstly, the pandemic has increased the need for supercomputer simulation and forecasting. Secondly, the war in Ukraine and geopolitical instability have increased the need for Europe to control, manage, and preserve its data locally and its potential in computing with European hardware. SiPearl is well-positioned to address these needs with its high-performance, energy-efficient and secure microprocessor.
SiPearl’s microprocessor is the world’s first HPC-dedicated CPU* designed to be combined with any third-party accelerator, such as GPU, AI or Quantum, to address multiple classes of workloads.
SiPearl has made significant progress in its journey, and its microprocessor is expected to be available by the end of the year. SiPearl is well-positioned to address the needs of the European market with its microprocessor. The company's future looks promising, and they are well on their way to achieving their vision of building the highest-end microprocessor and making a significant difference in the future of supercomputing.
SiPearl about Tech Tour
SiPearl has benefitted from the Tech Tour events and activities, which offer great opportunities to meet other entrepreneurs, learn more about their technologies, consider smart partnerships, and network with deep tech investors at the European level. After attending the Lisbon and Leuven events, this will be Philippe's third participation in a Tech Tour event.
* CPU = Central Processing Unit