Flow Computing raises $4.3M to enable parallel processing to improve CPU performance by 100X

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Flow Computing is a pioneer in licensing on-die ultra-high-performance parallel computing solutions to CPU vendors of all architectures. And today the company is emerging from stealth with a funding round of $4.3 million from Nordic investors and businesses.

The Helsinki company claims it can achieve a 100-fold acceleration in computing power for central processing units, or CPUs. To put that in context, this kind of gain just doesn’t happen. You can now make small gains with semiconductor manufacturing, and small gains with chip design. But a 100-fold increase usually only happens across a decade or many decades.

Capable of being integrated into any CPU design architecture, instruction set or process geometry, Flow provides a revolutionary 100-fold acceleration that is immediately usable in standard Von Neumann-based computer designs to enable “CPU 2.0”-levels of throughput, the company said.

Helsinki-based Flow Computing wants to generate AI imagery like this.
Helsinki-based Flow Computing wants to effortlessly generate AI imagery like this.

“We firmly believe there have been only incremental improvements in CPU performance during the last few decades – in our opinion, this has led to a situation where the CPU has actually become the weakest link in computing due to its sub-optimal sequential architecture,” said Timo Valtonen, cofounder and CEO of Flow Computing,” in a statement.

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Flow also eliminates the need for expensive graphics processing unit (GPU) acceleration of CPU instructions in performant applications, the company said.

Valtonen added, “A new era in CPU performance has become a necessity in order to meet the continuously increasing demand for more computing performance, driven to large extent by needs in AI, as well as edge and cloud computing. Flow intends to lead the SuperCPU revolution through its radical new Parallel Performance Unit (PPU) architecture, enabling up to 100 times the performance of any CPU, regardless of architecture and with full backwards software compatibility.”

Flow’s groundbreaking new architecture, referred to as a Parallel Processing Unit (PPU), boosts the CPU performance up to 100-fold through PPU integrated on-die through a license from Flow. The PPU is fully backwards compatible with every existing software application for that CPU architecture – existing parallel functionality in all existing software and applications can be greatly accelerated by recompilation for the PPU without any software changes required.

The more PPU cores integrated on-die, the higher the performance boost that will be subsequently gained and Flow has optimized licenses for every major tier of CPU market application — mobile, PC and supercomputer.

Flow’s technology is also complementary in nature to the entirety of the device motherboard as well as any peripheral boards – while it boosts the CPU, all other connected units (such as matrix units, vector units, NPUs and GPUs) holistically benefit from the performance of PPU and get a major boost from the now far-more-capable CPU, the company said.

Flow is already in initial discussions with major semiconductor vendors from around the world seeking the “Holy Grail” of next-generation CPU performance – more technical details will be publicly shared during the second half of 2024.

Flow Computing is aiming to boost CPU performance by 100 times.

Participating entities in Flow’s pre-seed round include Butterfly Ventures (lead VC), FOV Ventures, Sarsia, Stephen Industries, Superhero Capital and Business Finland. As a spinout from the acclaimed VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, VTT maintains an equity stake in Flow Computing and all the patented IP developed over several years during this period has been officially transferred to Flow.

“At VTT we are excited by the technical innovations of Flow Computing as Finland moves to become a world-leading exporter of cutting-edge semiconductor designs. They are providing a complete performance ecosystem to not only the CPU vendors, but the development communities that have coalesced around major CPU designs such as X86, Apple M-Series, Exynos, ARM and RISC-V. We are excited that Flow’s technology which has been developed at VTT is able to contribute in a significant way to the not just to Finnish and European computing ecosystem, but in the future of the whole computing industry!” said Antti Vasara, CEO of VTT, in a statement.

“Every industry in tech continues to suffer due to the fact that the rate of CPU improvements has slowed over the last decade. Flow is the first major departure from this trend, offering multiples of performance instead of some percentage points and – in our opinion — Flow will have a broader impact on the baseline performance of the computing market than for example quantum computing in this decade,” said said Juho Risku, partner and cofounder of Butterfly Ventures, in a statement.

He added, “Despite the huge investments in AI, general purpose computing will dominate its cost and constrain its capability. Flow Computing is solving this problem by enabling the next generation of SuperCPUs to easily surpass current industry leaders such as the Apple M-series, Nvidia Grace, AMD Zen 5, Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite X, Intel Lunar Lake, Arm Cortex X, Google Axion and Microsoft Azure Cobalt 100.”

Flow’s groundbreaking architecture also turbocharges embedded systems and data centers, for uses such as edge and cloud computing, AI clouds, multimedia codecs across 5G/6G, autonomous vehicle systems, military-grade computing and more.

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