How Synopsys is Enabling Pioneering South Korean Startup Rebellions to Redefine the World of Energy-efficient AI Computing

Dr. Johannes Stahl, Jinwook Oh

Jul 10, 2024 / 4 min read

Synopsys is dedicated to empowering our customers with cutting-edge tools and technologies that drive innovation and excellence. One leading edge customer, Rebellions, exemplifies the transformative potential of strategic collaboration. Through their integration of Synopsys’ ZeBu emulation system, Virtualizer, and VCS into their novel AI software and hardware verification methodology, Rebellions is making significant strides in the highly competitive AI hardware industry. By leveraging our technology alongside their own commitment to innovation, flexibility, and robust partnerships, Rebellions is poised to lead the next wave of AI acceleration technology. Discover how with the Rebellions collaboration with Synopsys is shaping the future of AI.

Introduction to Rebellions

Rebellions, a pioneering AI chip company based in South Korea, has carved out a niche in the fiercely competitive artificial intelligence (AI) landscape by focusing on energy-efficient solutions for data centers. Founded with a vision to innovate AI hardware, Rebellions initially targeted financial AI — specifically, high-frequency trading. Over time, the company expanded its focus to include AI accelerators and systems for data centers, aiming to provide performance-driven solutions that surpass traditional GPU-based setups in both efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

The key to Rebellions' strategy is its commitment to flexibility and customer collaboration. Unlike numerous competitors, Rebellions designs AI accelerators that are not limited to specific algorithms but can adapt to a wide range of applications, while enhancing both energy efficiency and overall performance. This approach has found favor with major Korean IT companies, including Korea Telecom, which are leveraging Rebellions' solutions to build and reinforce their cloud services with enhanced AI capabilities.

Differentiating Technology in a Crowded AI Market

Central to Rebellions' technological edge is its proprietary AI core architecture, designed for optimal energy efficiency and adaptability. Unlike traditional GPU architectures that may underuse resources for certain algorithms, Rebellions' approach ensures that its smaller, more flexible chips can efficiently handle diverse AI workloads without unnecessary power consumption. This flexibility is crucial for applications ranging from computer vision to chatbots and beyond, making Rebellions' solutions attractive to a wide range of IT service providers seeking to integrate AI into their offerings.

Moreover, Rebellions has strategically aligned itself within the Samsung ecosystem, leveraging advanced foundry technologies and securing critical components like HBM3E memory from Samsung. This partnership not only enhances the performance and reliability of Rebellions' products but also ensures a robust supply chain, crucial for scaling operations and meeting market demand.

Rebellions rebel 4nm IC

Leveraging ZeBu and Virtualizer for Chip Validation

In pursuit of excellence in chip design and validation, Rebellions partners closely with Synopsys. The collaboration centers on Synopsys' ZeBu emulation, Virtualizer, and VCS solutions, vital tools in the chip design and software development process. ZeBu together with Virtualizer enables Rebellions to emulate and verify the functionality of its AI accelerators executing AI workloads in a virtual environment, significantly speeding up the validation process.

For Rebellions, the challenge lies not only in designing innovative AI accelerators but also in validating their functionality and performance at scale. The ZeBu platform plays a pivotal role here by allowing Rebellions' engineers to emulate complex workloads while fostering a mature full-stack software environment from the early stages. This approach not only reduces time-to-market but also enhances the reliability of the final product.

Unified development flow for AI

Rebellions' current focus involves validating its latest innovation, the REBEL-Quad chip, designed to maximize performance while maintaining energy efficiency. The emulation process with ZeBu enables Rebellions to simulate various real-world scenarios, ensuring that the chip meets stringent performance benchmarks across different applications and workloads.

The adoption of ZeBu and Virtualizer has yielded several key benefits for Rebellions:

Accelerated Validation: Emulation allows Rebellions to detect functional and performance bugs that may pass unnoticed in traditional simulations, particularly in scenarios involving large-scale neural networks or complex matrix operations.

Scalability and Flexibility: While initially focusing on single-chiplet validation, Rebellions plans to scale up its emulation efforts to encompass larger configurations of the REBEL-Quad chip. This scalability, including leveraging ZeBu Cloud, is essential as Rebellions needs to validate its expanding product line to capture a larger market presence.

Collaborative Support: Synopsys' collaboration has been instrumental in Rebellions' success, with dedicated support from the Korean Synopsys application engineering team ensuring that Rebellions maximizes the potential of the ZeBu and Virtualizer platforms for its specific use cases.

Outlook and Expansion Plans

Looking ahead, Rebellions is poised for further growth, targeting expansion into key international markets such as Japan, the U.S., and the Middle East. Participation in global AI summits and conferences underscores Rebellions' commitment to establishing a global footprint and fostering new partnerships.

Rebellions' partnership with Synopsys and the integration of ZeBu and Virtualizer into its chip design workflow exemplify a synergistic approach to innovation in AI hardware for complex AI workloads. By exploiting the advantages of cutting-edge emulation technology, Rebellions not only enhances the performance and reliability of its AI accelerators but also accelerates its path to market readiness. As Rebellions continues to innovate and expand, its collaboration with Synopsys remains pivotal in navigating the complexities of AI chip design and meeting the evolving demands of global IT markets.

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