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Graphcore launches in Japan

Apr 27, 2021

Graphcore Japan hits the ground running with SCSK and HPC Systems

Written By:

Mamoru Nakano

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The opening of Graphcore’s Japan office is another hugely significant milestone in the company’s rapid growth across Asia.

Few nations are as closely associated with the development and adoption of leading-edge technology, so it is a privilege to be supporting Japan’s continued innovation in artificial intelligence.

To launch our business here, with two of the country’s most trusted technology resellers,  SCSK and HPC Systems, reflects the maturity of our business and our deep commitment to Graphcore customers.

It is my personal privilege to be leading our operation in Japan. After a career that has taken me to some of the world’s leading computer companies, including Cray, HPE, Compaq and DEC, I see in Graphcore the same potential to define a technology that will change our world.

From silicon to systems

Graphcore first became known for the ground-breaking, made-for-AI, Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU) which captured the imagination of innovators looking beyond the GPU for the next generation AI computing platform.

With 1,472 truly independent processor cores and almost a gigabyte of ultra-high-speed memory on the silicon die, the IPU is the world’s most sophisticated microprocessor. 

But today it is the sophistication of the systems, software, sales and support operations that we have built around the IPU that are driving the adoption of Graphcore technology by AI practitioners around the world.

SCSK and HPC Systems

Partnerships are a huge part of the Graphcore story, and establishing our relationship with SCSK and HPC Systems is an essential part of getting our technology to Japanese customers.

As one of the nation’s best known and most trusted hi-tech corporations, SCSK has delivered the systems and solutions that has made Japan a world leader in technology for more than half a century.

SCSK has already secured the sale of several Graphcore systems in Japan, including to a major industrial corporation, and another in the hi-tech sector.

Noboru Kohno, General Manager, IT Engineering Division of IT Platform Business Group at SCSK said of our partnership: “Artificial intelligence is the transformative technology of our times and SCSK is helping to put the various AI solutions and services in the hands of our clients and partners across Japan. 

“Graphcore has created something truly special in the IPU – an AI compute platform that not only offers superior performance for today’s most popular applications, but also allows innovators to develop and deploy next generation AI models that demand advanced architectural features such as fine-grained, massively parallel processing.” 

HPC Systems brings a wealth of experience in high performance computing, deep learning, and AI. Serving a broad customer base, HPC Systems has received recognition for its work with public and private research institutions including the development of its Science Cloud and Computational Chemistry platforms.

“Across industry and academia, demand is growing for cutting-edge artificial intelligence compute and Graphcore’s results speak for themselves. HPC Systems’ customers know that the technology they choose to run their AI on can mean accelerated innovation and increased competitive advantage,“ said Teppei Ono of President & CEO at HPC Systems.

Faster and better

The enthusiasm we are seeing in Japan for Graphcore technology is hugely energizing.

There is a real desire to advance AI further and faster – reflecting the country’s Artificial Intelligence Technology Strategy.  As far back as 2017, this influential report acknowledged the need for new processor architectures to maximise the AI opportunity.

That vision was shared by Nigel Toon and Simon Knowles who, a year earlier, had founded Graphcore to produce just such specialist silicon and systems.

Graphcore customers understand that the IPU isn’t just significant because it dramatically accelerates today’s most widely used AI workloads. It is architected to enable the development of highly efficient next-generation models, which take advantage of characteristics such as sparsity.

This philosophy of improving the now and enabling the next, could describe Japan’s entire approach to technology over the best part of century – a strategy that made it a world leader.

Today, the country is looking forward into the next era of technological transformation with much the same spirit. 

Visit the Graphcore Japan website for more information