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Saturday, Dec 9, 2023
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.

AI and Autonomy

Altair invests $10 million in photonic chip producer

The new approach uses photonics to reduce power consumption and attendant heat production, while increasing speed and power of communications

Image provided by Xscape Photonics

Altair (NASDAQ: ALTR) invested USD$10 million in Xscape Photonics, a startup producing photonic chips for data centres and high performance computing (HPC).

Xscape developed a platform connecting various computing elements in a fashion that’s environmentally sustainable without sacrificing quality. The new approach uses photonics to reduce power consumption and attendant heat production, while increasing speed and power of communications.

This resolves a technological roadblock wherein computing previously used a traditional approach to moving vast amounts of data between chips. This prior approach involved significant space and power requirements, with substantial heat generated leading to performance challenges as applications scale. The complexity and computational requirements of data science and artificial intelligence (AI) compounded that problem.

“Aligned with Altair’s history in embracing high-performance computing and tying our software innovation to the advancements in HPC hardware, understanding how our software can integrate with such technologies in the future will allow us to continue to push the boundaries of technology and help our customers accelerate their pace of innovation,” said James R. Scapa, founder and chief executive officer for Altair.

Read more: The Mugglehead technology roundup: artificial intelligence edition

Read more: VIA Rail extends AI-powered pilot project for reducing fuel-consumption inefficiencies

Photonics is a potential innovation for high performance computing

Altair is a software and cloud solutions company offering options in the simulation, high-performance computing, data analytics and AI sectors.

In the future, more simulation and computing power will be needed to allow for greater analysis, more sustainable productivity, lowered costs, better products, and faster time-to-market. High speed data transfer is also relevant for software that facilitates simulation, HPC, AI, and machine learning. Shifting to embrace photonics will allow organizations across all sectors – including hardware, software, and product development companies – to accelerate their pace of innovation.

High speed data transfer is also important for the software that handles simulation, high-performance computing, AI and machine learning. The company anticipates that simulation and computational power will be required for analysis, as well as more sustainable productivity, cost reduction, improved products and improved time-to-market speeds.

The company believes the shift to photonics gives organizations across all sectors the chance to scale their innovation levels accordingly.

Scapa accepted a seat on Xscape Photonics’ board of directors and Altair secured a seat on the board of observers.


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