Adapteva wants to turn your phone into a server

Chip outfit Adapteva claims it can bring server-type performance to mobile phones.

Andreas Olofsson, Adapteva’s CEO told PC World that his Epiphany IV chip packs 64 cores, and can provide 70 gigaflops of performance while eating a watt of power.

He admits that a watt may be high for smartphones, but the chip can scale down its performance and power and increase it when it is needed for tricky tasks like hand-gesture recognition and face recognition.

The chip is not designed to run an operating system either. It is intended to be a co-processor to take processing load off CPUs.

It uses a mesh design for faster data exchange, and the parallel cores are linked with multiple points of contact to receive and transfer data.

Olofsson said his chip will not take on Intel or ARM, it will sit next to it and do a lot of the power work.

Adapteva has been doing rather well selling its chips into the supercomputing space, where it is used for grid-based tasks such as environmental modelling. The company is tiny and has five people and one unnamed customer.

However Olofsson said that the chip’s small size and low-power attributes make it a good co-processor in smartphones and tablet.

His cunning plan is to license the chip design to mobile chip makers. The accelerator could fit inside a system-on-chip, but Olofsson’s goal is to get it into smartphones and tablets.