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Rapidus collaborates with Esperanto to develop low-power AI chips

Rapidus, a Japanese wafer foundry startup, announced a memorandum of understanding with Esperanto, an American RISC-V architecture chip design company. The two sides will collaborate on the research and development of artificial intelligence (AI) semiconductors for data centers, jointly developing low-power AI chips.

Rapidus announced in a press release on the 15th that it has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) with American startup company Esperanto Technologies, a developer of RISC-V architecture computing solutions. Through the signing of this MOC, both parties will promote the research and manufacturing of low-power AI chips for data centers.


Rapidus stated that as society enters a mature AI era represented by generative AI, the power consumption of data centers increases. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global data center electricity demand is expected to rise due to factors such as generative AI, and it is estimated that it may reach approximately 1000TWh by 2026.

According to Japanese media reports, generative AI requires a large amount of electricity, and there are predictions that global AI data center power consumption will increase tenfold in the next five years. Esperanto's technological strength lies in reducing power consumption. Esperanto CEO Art Swift stated at a press conference held in Tokyo on the 15th that "by utilizing the Rapidus factory, innovative design technologies can be quickly put into the market to cope with the power crisis.".

Rapidus began collaborating with Canadian AI chip startup Tensorrent in February, and Rapidus President Junichi Koike stated at a press conference on the 15th that "the collaboration with Tensorrent belongs to a different field, and electricity is an urgent issue.". Junichi Koike pointed out that "the demand for 2-nanometer chips will experience explosive growth from 2027 to 2028.".

Rapidus aims to mass produce the most advanced logic chips below 2 nanometers by 2027. The first factory, IIM-1, located in Chitose City, Hokkaido, started construction in September 2023. The trial production line is planned to be activated in April 2025 and mass production will begin in 2027

Rapidus was established in August 2022, with joint investment from 8 Japanese companies including Toyota, Sony, NTT, NEC, SoftBank, Denso, NAND Flash giant Armor, and Mitsubishi UFJ.

The collaboration between Rapidus and Esperanto will combine their advantages in advanced process and energy-saving chip design to develop low-power data center computing chips that are in line with the AI era.

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