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Lemurian Labs is building a new compute paradigm to reduce cost of running AI models

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It’s fair to say that Nvidia has found itself in the right place at the right time with demand for its GPU chips at an all time high, thanks to the resource demands of generative AI models, but what if there were a chip that provided similar power at a lower cost? That’s what Lemurian Labs, an early stage startup from Google, Intel and Nvidia alumni, is trying to build.

To be sure, it’s a kind of moonshot idea, and it takes a lot of time and money to get a chip idea to market, but it’s the kind of idea when it comes from founders with a certain pedigree that investors are willing to take a chance on. Today, the startup announced a $9 million seed investment.

“Fundamentally, at Lemurian, our goal is to reimagine accelerated computing. And the reason we want to do that is because the existing way we have done computing is starting to come to an end. And it’s not so much that it’s not a great architecture or paradigm, it is that the physics of semiconductors is pushing back against that paradigm,” Jay Dawani, co-founder and CEO at Lemurian, told TechCrunch.

The company’s goal is to build a new chip along with software to make processing AI workloads more accessible, efficient, cheaper, and ultimately more environmentally friendly.

As though holding a master class in computer architecture, Lemurian explains that computing comes down to three things: “There’s math, there’s memory, and then there’s movement. The goal is interconnects. So data gets stored in memories that gets moved through an interconnect into a math unit where it gets manipulated, then it gets written back in memory. So that is the traditional point in architecture: data has to travel,” Dawani explained.

Lemurian wants to flip that approach. Instead of making the data travel to the compute resources, it wants the compute to move to the data. “What we’re saying is we need to essentially minimize that distance, so that we aren’t really moving data, we’re moving around compute,” he said.

He says that GPUs were essentially created for graphics-related tasks, but over time have taken on a variety of other roles because of their pure processing capabilities. “Because you’re designing for something, but also trying to do something else, and when you’re trying to do everything, you’re not really that great at doing everything. And that’s really the achilles heel of a GPU. And that’s what we’re trying to fix,” Dawani said.

The way Lemurian wants to answer this is to change the math on the chip, a huge undertaking, no doubt. As Dawani tells it, in the early days of chip development, engineers made a decision to go with a floating point approach because nobody could get a logarithmic approach working. He claims that his company has solved that problem.

“And the beauty of a log number system is that it turns all those expensive multiplies and divides into adds and subtractions, which are very free operations in hardware. So you save on area and energy and you gain speed. And you also gain a bit on exactness or precision,” all of which are quite attractive when trying to bring down the cost of processing on large language models.

How did they do this? “We actually stumbled across the realization that by constructing in a certain way, and extending the definition of a large number system, you can actually create an exact solution, which ends up being smaller and more accurate than floating point for the same number of bits,” he said.

“And as you increase the number of bits, it grows better and better in dynamic range for the same number of bits, which is really, really fascinating. Now, that is a big part of what allows us to explore the architecture we did because without the number system you succumb to the same limitations.”

They are taking a go-slow approach, releasing the software part of the stack first, which they hope to have generally available in Q3 next year. The hardware is much more challenging and will take time and money to develop, manufacture and test in production, but the goal is for that to follow in the coming years.

The company currently has 24 employees, mostly highly skilled technical engineers with a background in this kind of project. That’s a limited pool of people, but his goal is to hire six more people over the next several months, and if all goes well, and they get a Series A, another 35 in the next year.

The $9 million investment was led by Oval Park Capital with participation from Good Growth Capital, Raptor Group and Alumni Ventures, among others.

Building a company like this and getting the chip to market represents a huge and expensive challenge, but if they can pull off what they describe, it could make building generative AI models (and whatever comes next) much cheaper and more efficient.



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Greenhouse Gases Are Alerting Oceans ‘Before Our Eyes,’ Says NASA

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NASA has shared a stunning yet concerning visualisation of sea surface currents and how they are being altered due to global warming. The visualisation depicts the average temperatures of ocean currents and how they differ at different locations.

The warmer hues such as red, orange, and yellow indicate higher temperatures, and cooler shades like green and blue represent lower temperatures.

“With 70% of the planet covered by water, the seas are important drivers of Earth’s global climate. Yet, increasing greenhouse gases from human activities are altering the ocean before our eyes,” the agency captioned the post.

According to NASA, 90 percent of the planet’s warming occurs within the ocean. Since modern recordkeeping began in 1955, the internal heat of the ocean has steadily increased, contributing significantly to climate change.

ALSO SEE: World’s Oceans Are Losing Their “Memory” As A Result Of Global Warming, Experts Claim

The heat stored in the ocean leads to thermal expansion, a process where water expands as it warms. This phenomenon is a major contributor to global sea level rise, accounting for one-third to one-half of the increase.

Scientists say the majority of this heat is concentrated at the surface, within the top 700 meters of the ocean. According to existing records, the past decade has been the warmest for the ocean since at least the 1800s, with 2023 marking the highest recorded ocean temperatures to date.

ALSO SEE: Arctic Ocean Warming Started Decades Earlier Than Previously Thought

The warming of the ocean has far-reaching effects. One of the most visible impacts is the rise in sea levels, primarily due to thermal expansion. Warmer waters have also led to widespread coral bleaching, which affects marine ecosystems and the increased temperatures also accelerate the melting of Earth’s major ice sheets.

NASA says that the warming ocean intensifies hurricanes affect ocean health and biochemistry, altering marine life habitats and disrupting food chains.





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NASA Shares Incredible Picture Of ‘Space Potato’ Phobos; It Will Soon Crash Into Mars

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Ever seen a space potato? NASA is here to treat you with one. The agency has shared a fascinating image of Phobos, the larger of two moons of Mars, explaining what makes this object so intriguing.

Meauring just 27 by 22 by 18 kilometres in diameter, Phobos orbits Mars about 6,000 km above the red planet’s surface and it is on a collision course with Earth.

This is the closest any Moon orbits a planet and Phobos might crash into Mars in the future. Scientists estimate that this is likely to happen within 50 million years. Another likely scenario of Phobos’ end will be its potential obliteration into pieces, eventually forming a ring around Mars.

According to NASA, Phobos is nearing Mars at the rate of six feet each year.

ALSO SEE: We May Have Been Wrong About Martian Moon Phobos’ Origin, It Could Be A Comet

Phobos (left) and Deimos (right). Image: NASA

Describing the image, the agency said that it was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been studying Mars since 2006.

Phobos was discovered along with its twin just six days apart by astronomer Asaph Hall in 1877.

ALSO SEE: ISRO’s Mangalyaan Presents Breathtaking Video Of Martian Moon ‘Phobos’

The Moon also has several craters but the most dominant one is the 10-km-wide Stickeny crater which Hall named after his wife Angelina.

The second moon is Deimos which measures 15 by 12 by 11 kilometres and orbits the red planet every 30 hours. Both the moons are named after the mythological sons of Ares, the Greek counterpart of the Roman god. Phobos means fear and Deimos means dread, says NASA. As for their origin, astronomers believe they could be asteroids or debris caught by Mars in the early solar system.

(Image: NASA)





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Rare ‘Gigantic Jets’ Spotted Above The Himalayas, NASA Shares Viral Picture

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NASA recently shared a captivating image of gigantic jets soaring from a thunderstorm toward the Himalayan Mountains in China and Bhutan. This composite image, featured in NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day segment on June 18, reveals four immense jets captured within minutes of each other.

Gigantic jets are a rare and fascinating type of lightning discharge that have only been documented since the early 2000s. Unlike conventional lightning that occurs between clouds or strikes the ground, gigantic jets bridge the gap between thunderstorms and the Earth’s ionosphere, the layer of the atmosphere that is ionised by solar and cosmic radiation, NASA said.

Jets of lightning spotted over the Himalayas. Image: NASA/Li Xuanhua

These jets are unique in their appearance and behavior, differing significantly from traditional lightning phenomena.

ALSO SEE: Webb Telescope Photographs Baby Stars Burping Out Gases For The First Time

Despite their visual grandeur, the precise mechanisms and triggers behind gigantic jets are still under investigation. What is known is that these jets help to balance electrical charges between different layers of the Earth’s atmosphere, playing a crucial role in maintaining the atmospheric electrical circuit.

For those interested in observing this phenomenon, a powerful but distant thunderstorm viewed from a clear vantage point offers the best chance.

As these jets typically shoot upwards from the storm tops into the ionosphere, they can often be seen from hundreds of kilometers away under the right conditions.

ALSO SEE: NASA Shares First Cosmic Image Of 2024 And It’s Exploding With Stars



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