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Equal1 wins Arm/Silicon Catalyst "Silicon Startup Contest"

As part of Arm’s commitment to spark fresh innovation among the growing silicon startup community, the company partnered with Silicon Catalyst on a “Silicon Startups Contest.” Through this contest they were looking for early-stage silicon startups who are designing their next system-on-chip (SoC) with Arm processor IP.

The winner – Equal1 Labs

After reviewing many entries and much deliberation among the judges, Arm has announced the winner of the contest -- Equal1 Labs, a pioneering Irish-based startup dedicated to making quantum computing more affordable and accessible.

Equal1’s highly innovative Quantum System-on-a-Chip (QSoC) processors, powered by Arm IP technology, integrates entire quantum computing systems onto a single chip, merging millions of qubits, control systems, and real-time error correction capabilities. These QSoCs, built via standard foundry processes, will form the core of the world's most powerful, compact quantum computers, designed for deployment into standard high-performance computing (HPC) environments.

Equal1, which is one of the top patent holders for quantum computing worldwide, is an Arm Flexible Access for Startups member and will be putting the winning contest prize of $150,000 of Arm Technology credit towards the tape-out of its fourth generation quantum silicon solution.

Jason Lynch, CEO, Equal1, says: “We are thrilled to be the winner of the 'Silicon Startups Contest'. Arm's support, partnership, and technology credit are invaluable to the development of our QSoC processors. Just as the evolution of classical computers was driven by advancements in silicon processors, we firmly believe quantum computing will follow the same silicon path. Like the majority of chips today, the new era of quantum computing will be powered by Arm, with a focus on power efficiency, performance, proven reliability and a robust ecosystem."

Equal1 is the first company to demonstrate silicon spin qubits using standard CMOS processes. We have already developed three generations of quantum SoC hardware, the latest solution is a breakthrough server-sized quantum computer, which is one percent the size of the competition.

Lynch continues: “Equal1’s QSoC integrates a quad core Arm Cortex-A55, which enables classical computing components to operate within the extremely power-constrained environment of the quantum cryo chamber. The merging of quantum and classical computing within QSoCs eliminates latency and I/O bandwidth restrictions, and expands the capabilities of Equal1's quantum computer to process a broader, more complex set of algorithms. Through the QSoC single-chip, minimal external components, integrated cryocooler, and a mere 1.5kW power consumption, Equal1’s server-sized quantum computers will deploy in tower or rack mounted configurations.”

Quantum computing has been identified by leading consultancy McKinsey as one of the next big trends in tech, with it having the potential to account for nearly $1.3 trillion in value by 2035. Governments worldwide, alongside the European Union (EU), are excited about the possibilities of quantum computing and have devised their own national strategies and funding programs to encourage companies to develop new solutions. These government and EU commitments make it an interesting area for silicon startups to explore.

Silicon Catalyst’s view on the contest winner

Equal1 emerged as the winning entry among an incredibly strong field of applicants across a broad range of technologies and applications. The judging panel included representatives from Silicon Catalyst who Arm partnered with on the contest.

States Pete Rodriguez, CEO of Silicon Catalyst, “Building on our close working relationship with Arm, as both a Silicon Catalyst Strategic Partner and an in-kind partner, we launched our worldwide contest for early-stage entrepreneurial teams to compete for valuable commercial and technical support from Arm. The resulting applicant companies represented an impressive range of technologies and application targets, as well as geographic diversity.”

“The response to this contest was a clear indicator of the breadth of products in the Arm portfolio, adding to the significant value of their Flexible Access for Startups program. The applicant companies represented the most interesting emerging applications using Arm technologies, including quantum computing, consumer products, massively parallel AI, cryptography and wireless communications. I congratulate the winner and runners-up and look forward to our extensive Silicon Catalyst ecosystem supporting their business growth.”

The runners-up – SpiNNcloud and Weeteq

Alongside the winner, two runners-up of the contest were also announced. These are SpiNNcloud Systems and weeteq, who are also both Arm Flexible Access members.

SpiNNcloud is the commercial spinout of Professor Steve Furber’s and Christian Mayr’s SpiNNaker research, which was done in partnership with the University of Manchester in the UK and TU Dresden in Germany. The Germany-based startup is currently working on the hybrid AI processor to enable large-scale AI across high performance computers (HPC). The processor can provide up to 10x more efficient large language model processing compared to a GPU and is comprised of 152 globally synchronous Arm CPU cores.

Scotland-based weeteq is developing innovative edge-AI technology, with a focus on the industry 4.0 transformation and the need to save energy and cloud data. The startup is exploring IP and silicon go-to-market options, utilizing Cortex-M55 and Ethos-U55 for system-on-chip (SoC) edge AI processing which, when combined, provide a 480x ML performance uplift compared to previous generation Cortex-M technology.

The winner and two runners-up will all receive a free Arm design check-in and an investor pitch review and preparation support by Silicon Catalyst, with an opportunity to present to the Silicon Catalyst Angels group and its investment syndication network.

Innovation across the future of computing

The Silicon Startups Contest showcased some of the very best solutions from leading silicon startups worldwide across new and emerging areas of computing. It’s clear from the entries received as part of the contest that these innovative solutions will play a pivotal role in the future of computing, whether that’s Equal1’s push for the very best levels of performance and efficiency in its leading quantum silicon or AI innovation for HPC and the edge from SpiNNcloud and weeteq.

Arm Flexible Access for Startups enables the next generation of innovators to build the technologies of tomorrow with free access to the trusted foundation of Arm’s extensively verified IP and tools. To date, over 100 startups have joined the program since its launch in 2019, allowing them to move fast, experiment with ease and design with confidence, so they can create the very best products as efficiently and effectively as possible.

If you’re an early-stage silicon start-up, then take a look at what Arm Flexible Access for Startups can offer you on your first step towards changing the world with products that are built on Arm.


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