When you try to develop your Prodigy processor that is equally good in general purpose, graphics, and multi-thread AI workloads, be aware that it is hard, and you may miss your performance targets. It is precisely what Tachyum attempted to do, but it does not look like it has met its expectations as it sued Cadence, its IP provider.
“These [IP] elements were supposed to be off-the-shelf technology that could be delivered quickly to meet Tachyum’s critical product development timeline so as to be first-to-market with its Universal Processor,” the complaint reads, as reported by The Register (opens in new tab). “However, catastrophic failures plagued each component, in some cases leading Cadence to advise Tachyum not to use the components and/or to obtain them from other vendors.”
Before we jump into the complaint and details, let us remind you what Tachuym promised (and even shared performance numbers back in June—obtained by The Register.
The Tachyum Prodigy processor, in its full-fat configuration, has up to 128 proprietary cores mated with 16 DDR5 memory channels (for a 1,024-bit interface) supporting up to 8TB of DDR5 memory at up to 7200 MT/s data transfer rate (and therefore providing up to 921.6 GBps of bandwidth) as well as 64 PCIe 5.0 lanes. Regarding frequencies, Tachyum said that its Prodigy is designed to run up to 5.7 GHz and is a product of TSMC’s performance-optimized N5P process technology.
According to Tachyum’s allegations (opens in new tab) filed with the superior court of California, the decision to use Cadence’s IP was made based on Cadence’s ‘representations,’ not based on the track record of the company with thousands of design wins and successful high-volume production ramps.
“Tachyum selected Cadence over its competitors in reliance on representations by Cadence regarding its product capabilities and development plans,” the claim says. “After the collaboration was underway, Tachyum learned that many of those representations — relating to multiple, critically important aspects of the project — were false. […] These elements were supposed to be off-the-shelf technology that could be delivered quickly to meet Tachyum’s critical product development timeline so as to be first-to-market with its Universal Processor. However, catastrophic failures plagued each component, in some cases leading Cadence to advise Tachyum not to use the components and/or to obtain them from other vendors.”
Because of Cadence’s wrongdoings, Tachyum did not meet the expectations of one of its clients. So far, Tachyon has publicly announced (opens in new tab) just one deal that omits any merits or money or horsepower needed (yet means the 128 core product, so we must suppose it is).
But while the lawsuit looks odd from a reader’s point of view, it carries something else that may be missed. The lawsuit of Tachyum alleging its IP provider of sabotaging its product will make other IP providers and contract chip designers think trice before signing in the contract and endeavor into the Prodigy journey. Yet the complaint might have an answer for that assumption as well.
“For nearly two years, Tachyum tried to work with Cadence to find solutions to these problems despite the persistent and widespread project delays and frustrations. Tachyum’s heavy investment in the Cadence relationship, both monetarily and technologically, meant it would not be a simple matter to switch to different vendors and service providers.”
Tachyum’s Prodigy processor is still coming because Tachyum has “contracted with other companies that were able to deliver what Cadence had not but only at a cost to Tachyum of millions of dollars more, as well as months of additional delay.”
Meanwhile, Tachyum may have merits with its litigation (although Tachyum has so far signed one high-volume contract, which speaks for itself).
“Tachyum’s suspicions grew deeper when it learned that Cadence’s then-CEO, Lip-Bu Tan, was on the board of directors of two of Tachyum’s competitors and was heavily involved in two investment funds that had invested in other competitors — a clear conflict of interest.”