Mitrionics CEO Details Company Vision

By Christopher Lazou

June 15, 2007

At supercomputing events, the focus in the media is often on large companies, their latest products and their share of the market. The smaller companies and their contribution to product innovation are often ignored in the melee. This year I decided to try and redress the balance a little.

Christopher Lazou: Anders, it's good that you can spare some time to talk to me. As chief executive officer (CEO) of Mitrionics Inc., a company providing ease of use software technology for FPGA supercomputing, you must be an extremely busy man. Let's briefly discuss what is needed to become successful in the HPC space and in the process try to gain some insight into your views concerning FPGAs in future HPC systems.

Why don't you start by telling us who you are and what made you start Mitrionics?

Anders Dellson: Mitrionics Inc. is a Swedish company founded by Stefan Möhl and Pontus Borg, in 2001. I joined the company the year after. When we started, we knew there was a demand for more computing power. We could see then that there was a business opening in this exciting new field of FPGA supercomputing and that more users could benefit from FPGA performance if they were empowered by using a software centric approach when programming the FPGA devices. We came up with a solution that is a massively parallel processor that gets instantiated in FPGA chips. We called our product the Mitrion Virtual Processor. In the last few years, we have found that FPGAs are becoming more widely adopted and the market for our product is growing stronger.

Lazou: How did you and the cofounders of Mitrionics go about financing your vision?

Dellson: We got about $1 million U.S. in 2002 in seed financing from two venture capital (VC) firms, one of them being TeknoSeed, who still owns a part of the company. With that money we completed our first prototype product and got the first pilot customer signed up. Early in 2005, we got $3 million U.S. in VC financing from Creandum, Teknoinvest and TeknoSeed. With that money we focused building up our sales and marketing organization and bringing more customers in. We also developed our turnkey system, initiated the Mitrion-C Open Bio-Project and developed the BLAST-n application. I think that this helped us in attracting the $6 million in financing we received last month, from Grande Ventures, Creandum and Teknoinvest.

Lazou: As we all know HPC is a fast changing field, risky and strewn with failed start-up companies. After six years you are going from strength to strength, so what is the secret of your success?

Dellson: I think the fact that we have had customers giving feedback at a very early stage. We have also been very active in the U.S. market where the largest HPC systems are located, participated in different industry events, etc. In addition, we have great industry partners for example SGI, Cray, DRC and Xilinx. I think the answer is all these reasons together, plus hard work and a strong wish to succeed.

Lazou: The core of your product offering is the Mitrion Virtual Processor, could you explain what 'virtual' in this case means and what it does?

Dellson: The Mitrion Virtual Processor is a processor design. It is massively parallel and configurable. To accelerate an application you re-write the compute intensive parts of your program using our Mitrion-C programming language, which is then compiled into a configuration of the processor and downloaded and run on the target FPGA.

Lazou: You are also talking about FPGAs as enablers of green supercomputing, what exactly do you mean?

Dellson: An important feature of the Mitrion Virtual Processor is the low power consumption compared to regular microprocessors. A typical Mitrion Processor running in a large FPGA consumes a maximum of 25 watts, compared to about 100 watts for a fast microprocessor — and it can do up to 20 times the workload. For the BLAST-n appliance marketed with SGI, the actual power savings over CPU clusters is 95 percent in a sustained operation. This is fantastic for the customers' bottom line costs and for the environment.

Lazou: Who are Mitrionics' principal industry partners and what does this entail?

Dellson: We have industry relationships with Cray, DRC, Nallatech, SGI, Xilinx and XtremeData. Mitrionics works differently with each company. The Mitrion Platform is ported to systems sold by Cray, SGI and Nallatech. We also cooperate in sales and marketing for our products. The modules from DRC and XtremeData will soon also support Mitrion. With Xilinx we have a different agreement. The Mitrion XL is delivered with Xilinx synthesis, place and route tool kit, thus making it easier for the customer. This is not only done for user ease, but is also about marketing FPGA's as accelerators.

Lazou: What successes have you had to-date?

Dellson: There are two that immediately come to mind. One is when the Mitrion Platform was selected by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, which has the world's largest FPGA supercomputer system based on the Cray XD1. They purchased 36 Mitrion Virtual Processor licenses to accelerate their applications. The second great success was at the supercomputing 2006 show in Tampa, Florida, when Mitrionics and SGI demonstrated an accelerated version of the world's most widely used bioinformatics application, NCBI BLAST, on the Mitrion Virtual Processor and SGI RASC RC100 system. The NCBI BLAST demonstration achieved a 16x performance speedup.

Lazou: What application areas are you concentrating your efforts on?

Dellson: The customer interest in BLAST is huge and it is coming from Europe, the U.S. and from Asia. So I would say that bioinformatics is one of our main focus areas. But we are also looking at suitable applications in other industries with strong potential such as financial, imaging, seismology, and encryption.

Lazou: A sign of success is expansion and Mitrionics is not only hiring new staff in Sweden, but it also started a company in the USA. Could you explain the rationale for this new company?

Dellson: A large share of our business comes from the USA and we need to be able to support them in the best way possible. We have also been able to recruit people with a solid background in the HPC space, which is very valuable to the company at this stage.

Lazou: I understand you are involved in DARPA projects as well as other U.S. defence initiatives. Without revealing any sensitive material do you see a potential for a lot of business in this area?

Dellson: It confirms that we have established ourselves as a major player in the FPGA computing space. We have software development collaboration with Reservoir Laboratories, who were awarded a DARPA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project titled “Productivity Advancements for Configurable Computing”. The project's first phase is for Mitrionics and Reservoir Laboratories to demonstrate productivity enhancements from combining the Mitrionics development platform and Reservoir Laboratories R-Stream compiler.

Lazou: With so much momentum and success in positioning Mitrionics at the centre of the HPC-FPGA evolution, how do you see the development of your software in the near future?

Dellson: Future software developments are to a great extent driven by user needs and the provision of new FPGA hardware. We are working with our industrial partners and plan to enrich the functionality of our products to make porting of applications onto FPGAs even easier.

Lazou: I think we explored a fair number of issues. Thank you Anders, for your time and frank answers. Wishing you all the best for the future and I am sure our readers would find your views very interesting. They also have an opportunity to visit Mitrionics booth at ISC2007, in Dresden so they can talk to your people and of course see a live demonstration of your products in action.

For more information, visit the company website at www.mitrionics.com.

—–

Brands and names are the property of their respective owners. Copyright (C) Christopher Lazou, HiPerCom Consultants, Ltd., UK, June 2007.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

South Africa CHPC: Home Grown Dynasty

October 22, 2018

Before the build up to the final event in the 2018 Student Cluster Competition season (the SC18 competition in Dallas), I want to take a moment to write about one of the great inspirational stories of these competitions. Read more…

By Dan Olds

NSF Launches Quantum Computing Faculty Fellows Program

October 22, 2018

Efforts to expand quantum computing research capacity continue to accelerate. The National Science Foundation today announced a Quantum Computing & Information Science Faculty Fellows (QCIS-FF) program aimed at devel Read more…

By John Russell

Democratization of HPC Part 3: Ninth Graders Tap HPC in the Cloud to Design Flying Boats

October 18, 2018

This is the third in a series of articles demonstrating the growing acceptance of high-performance computing (HPC) in new user communities and application areas. In this article we present UberCloud use case #208 on how Read more…

By Wolfgang Gentzsch and Håkon Bull Hove

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

One Small Step Toward Mars: One Giant Leap for Supercomputing

Since the days of the Space Race between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union, we have continually sought ways to perform experiments in space. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Join IBM at SC18 and Learn to Harness the Next Generation of AI-focused Supercomputing

Blurring the lines between HPC and AI

Today’s high performance computers are helping clients gain insights at an unprecedented pace. The intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and HPC can transform industries while solving some of the world’s toughest challenges. Read more…

Penguin Computing Launches Consultancy for Piecing AI Strategies Together

October 18, 2018

AI stands before the HPC industry as a beacon of great expectations, yet market research repeatedly shows that AI adoption is commonly stuck in the talking phase, on the near side of a difficult chasm to cross. In respon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

South Africa CHPC: Home Grown Dynasty

October 22, 2018

Before the build up to the final event in the 2018 Student Cluster Competition season (the SC18 competition in Dallas), I want to take a moment to write about o Read more…

By Dan Olds

Penguin Computing Launches Consultancy for Piecing AI Strategies Together

October 18, 2018

AI stands before the HPC industry as a beacon of great expectations, yet market research repeatedly shows that AI adoption is commonly stuck in the talking phas Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

When Water Quality—Not Quantity—Hinders HPC Cooling

October 18, 2018

Attention has been paid to the sheer quantity of water consumed by supercomputers’ cooling towers – and rightly so, as they can require thousands of gallons per minute to cool. But in the background, another factor can emerge, bottlenecking efficiency and raising costs: water quality. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Paper Offers ‘Proof’ of Quantum Advantage on Some Problems

October 18, 2018

Is quantum computing worth all the effort being poured into it or should we just wait for classical computing to catch up? An IBM blog today posed those questio Read more…

By John Russell

Dell EMC to Supply U Michigan’s Great Lakes Cluster

October 16, 2018

The University of Michigan (U-M) today announced Dell EMC is the lead vendor for U-M’s $4.8 million Great Lakes HPC cluster scheduled for deployment in first Read more…

By John Russell

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Platform Pushes GPUs into Machine Learning, High Performance Data Analytics

October 10, 2018

GPU leader Nvidia, generally associated with deep learning, autonomous vehicles and other higher-end enterprise and scientific workloads (and gaming, of course) Read more…

By Doug Black

Federal Investment in Exascale – What It Really Means

October 10, 2018

Earlier this month, the EuroHPC JU (Joint Undertaking) reached critical mass, and it seems all EU and affiliated member states, bar the UK (unsurprisingly), have or will sign on. The EuroHPC JU was born from a recognition that individual EU member states, and the EU as a whole, were significantly underinvesting in HPC compared to the US, China and Japan, who all have their own exascale investment and delivery strategies (NSCI, 13th 5 Year Plan, Post-K, etc). Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

TACC Wins Next NSF-funded Major Supercomputer

July 30, 2018

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has won the next NSF-funded big supercomputer beating out rivals including the National Center for Supercomputing Ap Read more…

By John Russell

IBM at Hot Chips: What’s Next for Power

August 23, 2018

With processor, memory and networking technologies all racing to fill in for an ailing Moore’s law, the era of the heterogeneous datacenter is well underway, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Requiem for a Phi: Knights Landing Discontinued

July 25, 2018

On Monday, Intel made public its end of life strategy for the Knights Landing "KNL" Phi product set. The announcement makes official what has already been wide Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learni Read more…

By Rob Farber

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

By John Russell

D-Wave Breaks New Ground in Quantum Simulation

July 16, 2018

Last Friday D-Wave scientists and colleagues published work in Science which they say represents the first fulfillment of Richard Feynman’s 1982 notion that Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

HPC on Wall Street 2018 Booth Video Tours Playlist

Arista

Dell EMC

IBM

Intel

RStor

VMWare

TACC’s ‘Frontera’ Supercomputer Expands Horizon for Extreme-Scale Science

August 29, 2018

The National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Computing Center announced today that a new system, called Frontera, will overtake Stampede 2 as the fast Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Advances AI Strategy

August 9, 2018

Intel's chief datacenter exec Navin Shenoy kicked off the company's Data-Centric Innovation Summit Wednesday, the day-long program devoted to Intel's datacenter Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

GPUs Power Five of World’s Top Seven Supercomputers

June 25, 2018

The top 10 echelon of the newly minted Top500 list boasts three powerful new systems with one common engine: the Nvidia Volta V100 general-purpose graphics proc Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

Aerodynamic Simulation Reveals Best Position in a Peloton of Cyclists

July 5, 2018

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and KU Leuven research group conducts the largest numerical simulation ever done in the sport industry and cycling discipline. The goal was to understand the aerodynamic interactions in the peloton, i.e., the main pack of cyclists in a race. Read more…

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This