This start-up is designing the computer chips of the future that will power self-driving cars and robots.

There's a race against time in the solid-state universe, where an observation called Moore's Law – made in 1965 by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore – predicts the doubling every 18 months of the number of transistors on a computer chip. Moore's Law is set to end in 2020.

This is where Solid State AI comes in. The Toronto start-up, founded by three Ontario entrepreneurs, plans to use quantum machine learning to develop new architectures for computer chips and electronic devices of the future.

"By 2020, we're going to get to the point where we cannot make chips any smaller," says Abishaik Ranpal, one of the co-founders at Solid State AI. "So we are going to find a way to surpass Moore's Law, by designing different devices with different architectures."

To do this, Solid State AI needs to design software that can quickly figure out the optimal chip design for specific devices and applications. Solid State AI CEO Christopher Mitchelitis says the company will likely also manufacture these chips of the future.

Two men stand at a computer with a model of a computer chip on the screen.
Christopher Mitchelitis (left) and Abishaik Ranpal (right) work on a model of a computer chip.

"Over the next few decades, we're going to see more self-driving cars, robots that clean your house and cook for you, and space travel," he says. "If you look at all these up-and-coming technologies, you'll see that their limitations largely have to do with hardware, specifically the chips. These innovations all require processors that are less power-hungry, and that's what our software will be able to design."

As a company in Creative Destruction Lab's seed stage program, Solid State AI has access to technical and business expertise, says Mitchelitis. Another significant competitive advantage? The company's Ontario location.

Mitchelitis points to a wealth of Ontario-based resources, such as the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, the Materials Science and Engineering program at McMaster University in Hamilton, and CMC Microsystems in Ottawa which manages Canada's National Design Network.

"There's definitely potential for collaboration with these universities and organizations," he says. "We're lucky to have access to so many resources here, including a quantum computer through CDL."

Sector/subsector: 

May 10, 2018

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