NEC X Opens Vector Engine Data Acceleration Center in Silicon Valley

April 23, 2019

Enables Users to Experience Vector Processing Benefits for Big Data Analytics on SX-Aurora TSUBASA™ AI Platform with Frovedis Framework, Compliant with Apache Spark™ and Cloudera Quality Assurance Test Suite

SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 23, 2019 — NEC X, the innovation accelerator for NEC’s emerging technologies, today announced from the Spark + AI Summit that it is opening the Vector Engine Data Acceleration Center (VEDAC) at its Silicon Valley facility. This new VEDAC is one of the company’s many offerings to innovators, makers and change agents. The NEC X organization is focused on fostering big data innovations using NEC’s emerging technologies while tapping into Silicon Valley’s rich ecosystem.

“As NEC X continues expanding its presence in the Silicon Valley,” said Yoshi Suemura, senior vice president of NEC X, “We are gratified to see the developing innovations that are taking advantage of the cutting-edge technologies from NEC’s laboratories.”

The VEDAC Lab provides servers configured with multiple NEC SX-Aurora vector engine cards running NEC’s Frovedis middleware that is compatible with the Apache Spark™ Machine Learning Framework. It offers remote access to the SX-Aurora TSUBASA™ AI platform for qualified companies, universities and government labs; or physically by entrepreneurs. After login, the VEDAC provides a short series of tutorials to quickly familiarize users with vector processing data analysis acceleration, allowing them to experience big data processing that is an order of magnitude faster than traditional servers.

SX-Aurora brings supercomputing performance to a broad range of applications, with its compact and cost-effective PCIe card form factor that fits in everything from workstation towers for a single card, to rack-mounted servers for multiple cards. This platform is also compatible with standard programming languages, such as C, C++ and Fortran.

“NEC X is excited about the opening of our vector engine data acceleration center,” said Robbert Emery, director of technology marketing and business development at NEC X. “The SX-Aurora AI platform will allow people familiar with the Apache Spark framework to experience firsthand how straightforward it is to use and develop applications with vector processors.”

NEC X also offers the opportunity for users to upload their own data to the VEDAC, in order to get a true sense of how it would perform in their actual applications. For more information about SX-Aurora TSUBASA AI platform, or to request VEDAC access, email

New Machine Learning Framework
NEC and NEC X also announced today the expansion of their open-source Frovedis framework for SX-Aurora, with several new machine learning (ML) algorithms. Frovedis is an extensive and growing collection of Apache Spark- and Python-compatible algorithms that utilize the framework APIs. Frovedis now has more than 18 algorithms for ML, including linear and logarithmic regression, ALS, SVM, k-means and word2vec. The newly added graph algorithms leverage the benefits of vector processing for rapid analysis of large, complex graphs. The Frovedis framework is equipped to handle large data frames and transformations, as well as dense and sparse matrix operations that are designed to offload the CPU and perform all operations on the vector processor card.

Until now, with the existing server processing capabilities, developing complex models on graphical information for AI has consumed significant time and host processor cycles. NEC Laboratories has developed the open-source Frovedis framework over the last 10 years, initially for parallel processing in Supercomputers. Now, its efficiencies have been brought to the scalable SX-Aurora vector processor.

As part of its mission to foster big data innovation, NEC X provides support to new and existing SX-Aurora customers in the Americas region. The Frovedis libraries enhance the Spark MLlib libraries with optimal vector processing, providing a 100x speed improvement when running on the SX-Aurora vector engine. This scalable AI platform, powered by SX-Aurora’s advanced, in-memory processing, accelerates AI, ML and big data analytics with its industry leading memory bandwidth (1.2TB/s) and capacity (48GB), which processes many data elements simultaneously. The unique architecture significantly increases speeds and reduces power consumption for memory-intensive statistical ML and data frame applications, such as recommendation engines, demand/price prediction, data traffic analysis and risk/risk-mitigation analysis.

Cloudera Co-Development Progress
NEC and NEC X also announced today the next phase of their co-development with Cloudera, previously known as Hortonworks prior to a corporate merger, to create a high-performance big data analytics platform based on SX-Aurora. Specifically, Frovedis middleware running on an SX-Aurora AI appliance exceeded Cloudera’s Quality Assurance Test Suite criteria, which is the industry’s most thorough testing environment with the largest number of performance and stress situations.

This milestone will now lead to the next step in the collaboration: to make the SX-Aurora AI platform YARN Ready certified for the Apache Hadoop YARN data operating system through the Hortonworks Data Platform 3.1.x integration, or HDP, certification. This certification will enable SX-Aurora enterprise customers to simplify scaling their big data analytics platforms.

Startup Accelerator Call for Entrepreneurs
Another initiative that’s about to enter a new phase is the NEC X Startup Accelerator Program. This program was launched prior to NEC X’s official founding in 2018 to identify and nurture promising entrepreneurial ideas that have strong potential to tap into the capabilities of the SX-Aurora AI platform and bring about disruptive innovation in AI, ML and big data analytics.

Working in conjunction with Silicon Valley’s incubator and accelerator ecosystem, the program is designed to identify and induct entrepreneurs in residence. These entrepreneurs are then ushered through a yearlong, multi-stage process that culminates in either a new product line within NEC or the launch of a startup, complete with the venture capital and support needed to be successful.

“We are proud of the groundbreaking ideas being developed and launched by our initial program participants,” said Shige Ihara, CEO of NEC X. “I can’t wait to see the innovations that will come from our next batch of entrepreneurs, which we have begun actively recruiting today.”

To apply for a spot in this program, email a summary of your idea to

About NEC X
NEC X, Inc. accelerates the development of innovative products and services based on the strengths of NEC Laboratories’ technologies. The organization was launched by NEC Corp. in 2018 to fast-track technologies and business ideas selected from inside and outside NEC. For companies launched by its Accelerator Program, often with partner venture capital investments, NEC X supports their business development activities to help them achieve revenue growth. Additionally, NEC X provides options for entrepreneurs, startups and existing companies in the Americas to use NEC’s emerging technologies. The company is centrally located in Silicon Valley for access to its entrepreneurial ecosystem and strong high-technology market. Learn more at

About NEC Corporation
NEC Corporation is a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. The NEC Group globally provides “Solutions for Society” that promote the safety, security, efficiency and equality of society. Under the company’s corporate message of “Orchestrating a brighter world,” NEC aims to help solve a wide range of challenging issues and to create new social value for the changing world of tomorrow. For more information, visit NEC at

NEC is a registered trademark of NEC Corporation. TSUBASA is a trademark of NEC Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Other product or service marks mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

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Eric Lawson
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