AI startup hires two Tesla EEs

BY LEAH WILLIAMS
Posted on JAN 28, 2019

Hot Chips highlights the race to new architectures as Esperanto Tech procures David Glasco and Dan Bailey as its new vice president of engineering and senior director of engineering, respectively.

Esperanto Technologies Inc. has hired two senior engineering managers from Tesla's Autopilot group. David Glasco and Dan Bailey will head up engineering for the startup working on high-end RISC-V cores and processors, targeting deep-learning and general-purpose jobs.

As reported by EE, the news comes at the opening here of Hot Chips, one of the top gatherings of microprocessor designers. As many as half the talks at this year's event focus on machine learning, reflecting the race to design silicon accelerators for the emerging style of computing.
At the event, startup Tachyum will detail ambitious plans for processors that most closely rival Esperanto. It will describe a family of 16-64 core SoCs it claims outperforms Intel's Xeon, and a water-cooled, 64-core version with 32 GBytes HBM3 for AI, all taping out next year.

Xilinx will describe a 75W FPGA delivering 20 tera-operations/second (TOPS) on 8-bit integer operations for inference jobs, using an 18x27 MAC array, 382 Mbits SRAM and 64 GBytes DRAM on board. Separately, it will detail its first Everest accelerator, a 7nm chip taping out this year using vector

DeePhi, a China startup Xilinx acquired last month, will detail the latest version of its AI core and software optimizations for it.

In mobile, Arm will give a deep dive into its new core for machine learning. A GHz-class ML core promises 4 TOPS on convolutional networks and 3 TOPS/W for a 2.5mm2 die at 7nm. Google and Samsung will give talks about applications processors that include hardware to bolster AI.

In addition, startup Mythic will detail its processor-in-memory, an emerging architecture it claims will deliver next year high-end GPU performance in embedded inference tasks a fraction of the power.

The activity underscores what has become a race for processor architects to build chips tailored for the new AI workloads.

Tesla has been leaking top talent this year amid struggles to produce new models and a March crash still under investigation that may have involved the use of Autopilot. In April, Intel hired veteran chip designer Jim Keller from Tesla where he was vice president of Autopilot and low-voltage hardware