Luminous Computing announced that it raised $105 million in a Series A round, with participation from investors including Gigafund, Bill Gates, 8090 Partners, Neo, Third Kind Venture Capital, Alumni Ventures Group, Strawberry Creek Ventures, Horsley Bridge, Modern Venture Partners, among others.
Silicon Valley is on the verge of delivering ubiquitous access to the kinds of capabilities that showed up 30 years ago in Star Trek: eliminating car accidents with self-driving cars, detecting and curing diseases through highly personalized drug discovery and automated health analytics, allowing anyone to query the entire database of human knowledge, and letting people talk to computers seamlessly, in real time. Despite substantial progress made towards those goals, the world is still waiting for these superhuman applications. The AI community knows how to deliver all of these capabilities from an algorithmic perspective, but more compute, bandwidth and memory are desperately needed. Luminous is building the supercomputer that satisfies those demands.
“It’s an incredible time to be a part of the AI industry,” said Marcus Gomez, CEO and co-founder, Luminous. “AI has become superhuman. We can interact with computers in natural language and ask them to write a piece of code or even an essay, and the output will be better than most humans could provide. What’s frustrating is that we have the software to address monumental, revolutionary problems that humans can’t even begin to solve. We just don’t have the hardware that can run those algorithms.”
The funding will primarily go towards doubling the size of the Luminous engineering team, building out Luminous’ custom chips and software, and gearing up for commercial-scale production. Specifically, Luminous is actively recruiting photonics designers, digital and analog VLSI engineers, packaging and system integration engineers, and machine learning experts. Luminous’ core differentiation comes from the fact that it is building nearly every part of the stack from the ground up, integrating expertise from a diversity of domains.
Using proprietary silicon photonics technology to eliminate data movement bottlenecks at every scale, Luminous is completely re-imagining how AI computers are built, resulting not only in order-of-magnitude improvements in performance, but also in drastic simplifications to the programming model.
“Most people who build hardware assume that in order to improve performance, you have to trade off against programmability and cost-efficiency, or just go to a higher-density silicon node. By introducing silicon photonics technology at the heart of computer architecture, we’re not only able to drastically improve performance and scalability, but we’re also able to make it much easier to build huge AI models,” added Gomez.
“At Gigafund, we focus only on founders that we believe have a path to building the most significant companies in the world,” said Luke Nosek, managing partner, Gigafund. “If we can build the product AI customers have always dreamed of, but wasn’t possible, Luminous will dominate the future of computing.”
For more information about Luminous and the future of artificial intelligence, please visit www.luminous.com.
Luminous is a group of highly-motivated pragmatists on a mission to build useful, usable, safe AI. The hardest problem and the biggest barrier to that vision is building a supercomputer capable of running tomorrow’s AI applications. By building systems that provide order-of-magnitude improvements in performance and scalability, Luminous will drive radical improvements in technology to enable the world’s most sophisticated artificial intelligence.