Thoughts on Tachyum

Tachyum is a CPU startup that claims that they will release a VLIW CPU for general purpose use, a claim has been made countless times. However, to my knowledge, I didn’t see a device fulfilling those dreams (Intel and Nvidia were the closest with much more resources). According to Tachyum, the Prodigy processor would also be faster than a GPU for even AI workloads.

The release of a production processor is planned according to the company in 2021. However, the company itself did not even deliver software simulation kits or FPGA systems in 2020. They’re instead promising to deliver those in Q1 2021. They also claimed to have finished the FPGA design only in October 2020. This is a major contradiction.

For a CPU design that is claimed to be released next year, there is no upstream software work done for it, which does not match at all especially for a server design. That alone counts as a major mismatch with what is said.

Faster than a GPU at AI training and inference… with only conventional DRAM. If the design itself has the CPUs keeping up, the system as a whole won’t because of DRAM bandwidth limitations alone. And that’s just one of my doubts about it.

Claiming that they’ll be faster than any future Arm and RISC-V chips is very disingenious, especially the former…

“Tachyum customers consistently indicate that they would run 100% native applications within 9-18 months of transitioning to the Tachyum platform”. No, that will not happen. I worked on porting software to Arm for a while, and the world is just not like that.

If Tachyum is making something at this point, they should at least put proper ISA documentation forward already for people to start porting, and committing to have chips available for testing in a reasonable timeframe.

Building a hardware platform with your own ISA is hard enough, if you are going to handle porting the software ecosystem yourself as a startup, that moves it to the borderline impossible.

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