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Unigrid Aims to Reduce Cost and Enhance Safety of Batteries through Sodium Technology

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The most widespread type of battery, lithium-ion, still costs around $140 per kilowatt-hour for a pack. Instead, manufacturers have started to explore sodium-ion batteries, not as a replacement, but as a complement to lithium-ion. To deliver that many batteries, Unigrid isn’t going to be building its own factories. Small vehicles like these are popular in India and Southeast Asia, where the intense heat can make lithium-ion batteries prone to overheating. To get its sodium-ion batteries into production, Unigrid has raised a $12 million Series A.

“Global AI Hardware Industry: Rebellion and Sapeon Merge as Competition Intensifies for Fabless AI Chip Manufacturers”

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Two of the country’s prominent fabless AI chip startups, Rebellions and Sapeon, have agreed to merge, the companies said on Wednesday. The merger is a strategic move by Rebellions and Sapeon aimed at leading the fabless AI chip market in South Korea to take on global rivals like Nvidia. Indeed, the deal comes at a pivotal moment in the global chip industry. Meanwhile, KT in 2023 incorporated Atom, Rebellions’ datacenter-focused AI chip, into its cloud-based NPU infrastructure. Last November, the company launched a 7-nanometer AI chip, X330 NPU, for autonomous vehicles, and earlier this year, it said it would develop an on-device AI chip targeting the edge computing market.

“Black Semiconductor from Germany Secures $273M in Funding for Revolutionary Graphene Chip Technology”

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Tech sovereignty has become a looming priority for a number of nations these days, and now a startup working in semiconductors has received a major boost in aid of that effort for Germany and Europe. The sum is one of the largest to date raised by a European startup working in semiconductors. Black is a spin-out from the University of Aachen co-founded by brothers Daniel and Sebastian Schall (respectively the CEO and CFO). The funding, a Series A, is important not just for its size but also because of the intention behind it. Porsche Ventures and Project A Ventures are co-leads, with participation from Scania Growth, Capnamic, Tech Vision Fonds, and NRW.BANK.

Unlocking the Full Potential of Your CPU: Flow’s Revolutionary Chip and the Magic of Elbow Grease

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Flow is a spinout of VTT, a Finland state-backed research organization that’s a bit like a national lab. You can’t just magically squeeze extra performance out of CPUs across architectures and code bases. But Flow has been working on something that has been theoretically possible — it’s just that no one has been able to pull it off. What Flow claims to have done is remove this limitation, turning the CPU from a one-lane street into a multi-lane highway. The chef still only has two hands, but now the chef can work ten times as fast.

Rivos Strategizes Future Moves as Apple Lawsuit Lingers

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ISAs are a technical spec at the foundation of every chip, describing how software controls the chip’s hardware. In addition to building the chip, Rivos is working on self-contained data center hardware based on the Open Compute Project modular standard, which will effectively serve as plug-and-play chip housing. Startups by the dozens, meanwhile, are angling for a slice of a custom data center chip market that could reach $10 billion this year and double by 2025. Habana Labs, the Intel-owned AI chip company, laid off an estimated 10% of its workforce last year. Kumar wouldn’t talk about customers, and Rivos’ chip isn’t anticipated to reach mass production until sometime next year.

with competitors “Meta Unveils Cutting-Edge AI Chip in an Effort to Surge Ahead of Competitors”

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Meta, hell-bent on catching up to rivals in the generative AI space, is spending billions on its own AI efforts. But an even larger chunk is being spent developing hardware, specifically chips to run and train Meta’s AI models. Meta unveiled the newest fruit of its chip dev efforts today, conspicuously a day after Intel announced its latest AI accelerator hardware. Google this week made its fifth-generation custom chip for training AI models, TPU v5p, generally available to Google Cloud customers, and revealed its first dedicated chip for running models, Axion. Amazon has several custom AI chip families under its belt.

Security Breach: Microsoft’s Workforce Reveals Internal Passwords

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Microsoft has resolved a security lapse that exposed internal company files and credentials to the open internet. The Azure storage server housed code, scripts and configuration files containing passwords, keys and credentials used by the Microsoft employees for accessing other internal databases and systems. Yoleri told TechCrunch that the exposed data could potentially help malicious actors identify or access other places where Microsoft stores its internal files. The researchers notified Microsoft of the security lapse on February 6, and Microsoft secured the spilling files on March 5. Microsoft did not say if it had reset or changed any of the exposed internal credentials.

“Introducing Axion: Google’s Revolutionary Arm-based Data Center Processor”

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Google Cloud on Tuesday joined AWS and Azure in announcing its first custom-built Arm processor, dubbed Axion. Based on Arm’s Neoverse 2 designs, Google says its Axion instances offer 30% better performance than other Arm-based instances from competitors like AWS and Microsoft and up to 50% better performance and 60% better energy efficiency than comparable X86-based instances. To be fair, though, Microsoft only announced its Cobalt Arm chips late last year, too, and those chips aren’t yet available to customers, either. In a press briefing ahead of Tuesday’s announcement, Google stressed that since Axion is built on an open foundation, Google Cloud customers will be able to bring their existing Arm workloads to Google Cloud without any modifications. “Through this collaboration, we’re accessing a broad ecosystem of cloud customers who have already deployed ARM-based workloads across hundreds of ISVs and open-source projects.”More later this year.

US to invest $11.6B in TSMC for enhanced chip production in Arizona

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This grant, pegged for the company’s U.S. subsidiary, TSMC Arizona, is the latest step by the U.S. to strengthen its domestic supply of semiconductors as it seeks to reshore manufacturing of chips amid escalating geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China. The Act is primarily aimed at attracting manufacturing stateside, and also prohibits recipients of the funding from increasing their semiconductor manufacturing footprint in China. With the new investment, Taiwan-based TSMC, which is the world’s largest producer of semiconductors, is broadening its plans for its fabrication plants in Arizona. Intel could receive approximately $20 billion in grants and loans from the CHIPS and Science Act for its semiconductor manufacturing. Meanwhile, Samsung, which announced a $17 billion additional investment in Taylor, Texas, is expected to receive more than $6 billion in grants for its chip facility in Texas.

“Expanding into America: Robovision, the Belgian Startup Revolutionizing Computer Vision to Combat Labor Shortages”

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Out of its base in Belgium, Robovision already serves customers in 45 countries, CEO Thomas Van den Driessche told TechCrunch in an interview. The initial traction Robovision gained was in agtech, which represents 50% of its activities, Van den Driessche said. But other verticals are growing faster for Robovision, Van den Driessche said. According to Van den Driessche, Robovision is seeing strong traction in life sciences and tech. Van den Driessche became Robovision’s CEO in 2022, and Berte moved his focus to fundraising, partnerships and global expansion.