Intel has acquired a graphics technology company founded by former Qualcomm mobile GPU engineers whose former company, Bitboys, was once considered a leader in desktop graphics.
Announced on Tuesday, Intel’s latest acquisition is Siru Innovations, a Finnish company specializing in the development of software and silicon building blocks, known as IP, for GPUs made by other companies. The Siru team will join the brand new Intel Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics group.
Balaji Kanigicherla, head of the Custom Compute group in Intel’s graphics business unit, said on LinkedIn that Siru’s expertise in hardware architecture, software, modeling and implementation will help efforts. Intel’s accelerated computing in various high-growth areas, including buzzwords like blockchain and metaverse. .
“Together, we will propel [the graphics business unit] and the Custom Compute Group’s focus on creating custom silicon/platform solutions and emerging accelerated compute solutions, in the areas of blockchain, metaverse, high-performance edge computing, and hyperscale – which represents a significant opportunity over the next few years,” he wrote.
the Twitter account because Intel’s graphics team had a slightly less fashionable description of where they expect help from Siru: mobility as a service, advanced driver assistance systems, games and hyperscale data centers, which are run by big companies like Meta and Amazon. .
The acquisition came as Intel seeks to challenge Nvidia and AMD by becoming a major player in discrete graphics and accelerated computing. These efforts include Intel’s new Arc GPUs for PC, its upcoming Ponte Vecchio GPU for high-performance computing, and its upcoming Blockscale ASIC for cryptocurrency mining.
On Siru’s website, the company says it has a “deep understanding of computer graphics,” from high-level APIs like DirectX and Microsoft’s OpenGL to the GPU architecture itself.
“We have designed, implemented, and verified major architectural innovations for our customers’ GPUs that are in shipping products,” the company’s website states.
Interestingly, Siru’s website said its team has a “low-power” mindset for developing graphics technologies, thanks to its past experience developing mobile GPUs at Qualcomm and AMD.
The Bitboys Journey
Siru himself isn’t a well-known name in the graphics field, but his team is led by respected veterans in the field who got their start as demoscenes creating software-generated art in the early 1900s. 1990 before creating their own graphics company and being acquired. twice.
One of Siru’s founders is Mika “Trug” Tuomi, who was a coder for a Finnish demo group called Future Crew, which is famous for various real-time demos, including Second Reality for PC in 1993, whose source code can now be found here.
You can watch the original demo here or a clip with remastered audio below.
In 1991, Tuomi and her brother, Kaj, went on to help found Bitboys, which was once seen as a precursor to desktop GPU technology before it came to provide a much-hyped chip called Glaze3D.
Bitboys then moved into graphics chips for mobile phones in the early 2000s before being bought out in 2006 by GPU maker ATI for $44.5 million. ATI was acquired by AMD shortly thereafter. The Bitboys team, as a result, became known as AMD Finland.
Then in 2009, AMD sold its mobile division, including the Bitboys team, to Qualcomm for $65 million. This resulted in the creation of Qualcomm Finland, and the mobile chip designer used the team’s expertise to create its Adreno line of GPUs, the latest of which are now integrated into Qualcomm’s brand new Snapdragon system-on-chip for phones. and laptops.
Despite the Bitboys’ lasting legacy at Qualcomm, the founders and other team members didn’t stay with the company too long and left the mobile chip designer to start Siru in 2011.
With Siru now joining Intel, this will mark something of a reunion for the Bitboys team and Raja Koduri, the head of Intel’s graphics business unit who was previously AMD’s chief GPU architect. It also means the team will have another chance to compete with Nvidia and AMD after losing the desktop graphics race to them over two decades ago.
“Since our inception in 2011, we’ve built an incredible platform that develops proprietary technology and has become a trusted partner for the graphics industry,” said Mikko Alho, a Bitboys veteran who led and co-founded Siru, in a statement. article on LinkedIn. “Joining Intel is a testament to our team’s deep expertise in customizing GPU IP throughout the entire design lifecycle.” ®