US Military Gives $20m To Tiny Semiconductor Startup

A US-based startup, Lyric Semiconductor, is seeking to revolutionise the world of computing with the introduction of a new processor that only calculates probabilities, but does so at a much faster rate than traditional solutions from AMD or Intel.

The prospects that the company offers are so interesting that it has received nearly $20 million from the Department of Defense to deliver a technology that could one day help the military to separate noise from useful information when dealing with humongous amount of data.

The company already has what it calls a general purpose programmable probability processing platform or GP5 and its CEO, Benjamin Vigoda, told TG Daily that GP5 may outperform processors from Intel and AMD by a factor of 1000x when it comes to a number of applications like web searches or genome searching.

When it comes to the products, Lyric Semiconductor, which is a spin-of from MIT, has already one called the Lyric Error Correction (LEC) for flash memory which helps manufacturers significantly enhance built-in ECC (Error Correction Code) technology on their products.

Vigoda reckons that Lyric's LEC correction chip is 30 times smaller than existing ones, 12 times more power efficient and faster than those on the market; what's even more impressive is that Lyric Semiconductor has not been around for long and was essentially based on Vigoda's own MIT doctoral thesis.

Some commentators have compared the technology to analog computers, fuzzy logic computational systems and even neural networks. Closer to the world of hard silicon, Lyric Semiconductor's GP5 looks a lot like a dedicated signal processor (DSP) and the more common GPGPU's from ATI or Nvidia.