Open-Silicon claims RISC-V ultra-low-power first

By Paul Dempsey |  No Comments  |  Posted: March 13, 2017
Topics/Categories: Blog Topics, Digital/analog implementation, Blog - EDA, - GDSII, Blog - IP, - Product, Standards  |  Tags: , , , ,  | Organizations: , , ,

Design services group Open-Silicon has developed the first Internet of Things (IoT) processor based around two emerging open-source technologies, the RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) and the Parallel Ultra Low Power (PULP) platform.

The company has also extended its range of platform services for the IoT.

Open-Silicon developed the RISC-V custom RTL-to-physical design SoC with French fabless semiconductor company Green Waves Technologies.

The resulting design, GAP8, is "an ultra-low-power smart IoT solution that can analyze and classify rich data produced by image, sound and motion sensors". The partners are claiming an operational lifetime of "several years" from a single battery.

The design comprises 1+8 extended RISC-V cores and a convolutional neural network engine as well as the PULP low-power features.

The PULP low-power platform implementation targeting RISC-V was developed by ETH Zurich and the University of Bologna. It comprises a set of IPs described in SystemVerilog, the related simulation and synthesis scripts as well as the runtime software (written in C and RISC-V assembly).

Demo implementations are available in FPGA format. Silicon, based on TSMC's 55nm low-power process, will be released in mid-2017.

RISC-V is an ISA originally developed for academic use at the University of California, Berkeley. Microsemi, Codasip, UltraSoC and Antmicro have also recently announced commercial implementations. All will be demonstrated at this week's Embedded World exhibition and conference in Nuremberg.

Open-Silicon extends IoT platforms

Open-Silicon's new IoT Gateway SoC platform has been assembled with Atoll Solutions (board) and Wirepas (connectivity) to serve a range of 'smart city' applications (e.g., lighting, traffic management, building management and industrial monitoring).

It joins the company's existing platforms for the IoT edge and other segments. The Gateway platform is based on an ARM Cortex-A9 CPU operating at 1GHz. Hardware accelerators, high-speed interfaces, security and RF/wireless mesh interfaces are included. A number of ready-to-use customized applications are available.

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