A Chinese company called Moore Threads has recently announced that it has become the first national company to introduce a domestic, “fully featured” GPU solution. The company reportedly tapped most of its core engineering team from Nvidia, with the usual suspects (Microsoft, Intel, Arm, and others) also being headhunted for the engineering talent that makes up the company’s roster. “Moore Threads” is more than an interesting naming choice – the company’s website does promise “double the number of concurrent threads every two years.”
If that sounds familiar, it’s because it papers to be named after Moore’s Law, which predicts that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit will double every two years. Moore’s law is named for Intel co-founder Gordon Moore.
The company claims that its GPU solutions have been based on fully domestic intellectual property and manufacturing expertise, and is capable of a variety of GPU workloads, including 3D graphics computing, AI training and inference computing, high-performance parallel computing and acceleration for ultra-high-definition video codecs. The company aims for its GPUs to be seamlessly integrated with partner companies’ infrastructure designs, including Chinese-developed CPU and platform solutions – an integration process that the company has already started. Moore Threads claims it already has accumulated a wealth of knowledge for every stage of GPU production – and that that’s the enabler for its claim of being able to design, manufacture, market and service its GPUs, covering the entire product life cycle.
Interestingly, Moore Threads was founded as recently as October 2020 – a mere year has come and pass since its inception and towards the development of this GPU solution. The company did enjoy ample funding for its endeavors: the startup has already gone through 3 funding rounds in a single year, with prominent investors such as Sequoia Capital China, ByteDance (of TikTok fame) and Tencent all reportedly contributing at one point or another. The latest Series A funding round brought the company some $313 million, with the aim to enable Moore Threads to kickstart the mass production and manufacturing of its first GPU chip and continued IP research and development for its GPU SoCs.
If Moore Threads’ claims ring true, then this is certainly one of the pivotal moments in China’s plans to become technologically independent from Western countries when it comes to silicon-bound technologies. With pressure pilling on China’s manufacturing capabilities in the face of the U.S. – China trade war, technological independence for China does seem to be dependent on that country’s capabilities to reinvent the wheel.