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Celestial AI raises $100m funding for optical interconnect platform

Machine Learning accelerator start-up, Celestial AI has raised $100m in Series B funding for the commercialisation of its Photonic Fabric technology platform, which the company says can deliver optical connectivity performance levels that are 10 years more advanced than existing alternatives, such as co-packaged optics (CPO).

The Series B funding is led by IAG Capital Partners, Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT) and Temasek’s Xora Innovation fund. Other major investors in the round include Samsung Catalyst, Smart Global Holdings (SGH), Porsche Automobil Holding, The Engine Fund, imec.xpand, M Ventures and Tyche Partners. 

Celestial AI was founded in 2020 by David Lazovsky (CEO) and Preet Virk (COO) with a mission to transform the way data is transferred by using light to move both within chip and between chips. After collaboration with hyperscalers, artificial intelligence (AI) compute and memory providers, the company is introducing the Photonic Fabric, an optical interconnect for disaggregated, exascale compute and memory clusters. It is designed to be unconstrained by package beachfront limitations and to deliver data to any location on the compute die, directly to the point of consumption. The company says that the bandwidth delivered by the Photonic Fabric is 25 times greater and delivers more than 10 times lower latency and power consumption than optical interconnect alternatives, such as co-packaged optics (CPO).

The technology is designed to be compatible with existing industry standards and proprietary electrical communication links. The company is offering its optical interconnect technology and silicon proven IP via a technology licensing programme. A suite of solutions is available and customers can choose to  leverage the platform as an extension to their existing compute platforms (GPUs, CPUs, and accelerators) through licensable IP, or harness the full end-to-end benefits via Celestial AI’s Orion AI accelerator (pictured). 

Dave Lazovsky, Celestial AI founder and CEO says: “We are at the beginning of an unprecedented journey toward the next generation of intelligence, which will transform our way of life. Generative AI and recommendation engines, which today are running on general purpose computing systems, have already begun to measurably impact business processes, products and services. A rapid transition will take place in the coming years as global data centre infrastructure transitions from general purpose to accelerated computing systems. This next wave of data centre infrastructure is being architected to deliver tremendous advancements in AI workload efficiencies, resulting from disaggregation of memory and compute resources which is enabled by optical interconnectivity. Our technology solutions are lighting the way to the future of accelerated computing.”

Chase Koch, founder and CEO, Koch Disruptive Technologies adds: “Celestial AI has developed a transformational optical connectivity capability that will deliver step-change advancements in both performance and energy efficiency of high-performance computing, unlocking the potential of Generative AI and other complex workloads. We believe this could be a truly disruptive moment for advanced computing and we are excited to be a part of it!”

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