Article: European Processor Initiative Tapes Out Their First RISC-V Test Chip

Hardware, Open Source, Software

European Processor Initiative Tapes Out Their First RISC-V Test Chip

The EPI recently announced that it has developed its first RISC-V device, the EPAC1.0, a RISC vector processor using the RISC-V ISA. Using the RISC-V architecture, the device can work with software libraries and other developments in the RISC-V environment. Furthermore, RISC-V removes the need for royalties and licenses when manufacturing processors that free the EPI from any outside commercial interest.

While RISC-V is nowhere near as popular as x86 or ARM, it is starting to gain traction and will undoubtedly become a major competitor. In addition, the use of an open-source ISA enables any manufacturer to create their own code-compatible CPU without worrying about licenses or royalties, which supports the development of lower-priced processors and encourages the use of open-source hardware.

Read full article

Article: Democratising chip design

Design, Hardware, Open Source, Software

Democratising chip design

A potentially important initiative is US research agency DARPA’s OpenRoad initiative, with aims to build a more comprehensive set of open-source design tools. Professor Andrew Kahng of the University of California at San Diego and principal investigator on the project envisages an environment that can lay out and tune a range of chip designs automatically through a combination of machine learning and what he calls “extreme partitioning”, which divides the chip into many small independently optimised modules.

Though verification engineers have embraced various forms of open source, the stumbling blocks for its adoption get bigger the closer you get to tape-out. The biggest issue lies in the process design kits (PDKs) provided by foundries that are jealously protected by non-disclosure agreements and which forbid any sharing.

Read full article

Article: Are we seeing the takeover from RISC-V?

Hardware, Open Source, Software

Are we seeing the takeover from RISC-V?

If RISC-V is to be taken seriously as a competitor against ARM, manufacturers of microcontrollers such as Microchip and STMicroelectronics could look into creating RISC-V microcontrollers. This would remove the need for royalties while also helping develop the RISC-V market. RISC-V will also be heavily reliant on the open-source community to create software libraries and platforms for processor technology.

Looking forward to the next ten years, there is no doubt that RISC-V will not only become a competitor of ARM but will most likely take over their market share once the advantages of a royalty-free processor are made clear to manufacturers. Furthermore, it is likely that RISC-V supporting companies will form who will provide software and hardware surround the RISC-V core, and this, in turn, will help medium-sized companies get into the RISC-V markets.+

Read full article

Article: RISC-V: Open-Source Alternative To ARM That Will Revolutionize The Processor Industry

Hardware, Open Source, Software

RISC-V: Open-Source Alternative To ARM That Will Revolutionize The Processor Industry

The open-source revolution made it possible for developers around the world to work together, creating new applications that are available to everyone. Today, we can find suitable or maybe better alternative open-source applications for every paid software.

So we only heard about the influence of the open-source community in the software sector. For obvious reasons — it is easier to develop software than hardware. However, there are also open-source projects associated with hardware, and one of the most promising is called RISC-V.

Read full article

Article: Open Hardware: Open-Source Sharing of Hardware Specifications

Hardware, Open Source, Software

Open Hardware: Open-Source Sharing of Hardware Specifications

While RISC-V has a BSD open source license, designers are welcome to develop proprietary implementations for commercial use as they see fit. RISC-V offers a variety of commercial benefits, enabling companies to accelerate development time while also reducing strategic risk and overall costs.”

Ted Marena, RISC-V ecosystem director for Western Digital, said that “open-source collaboration is well-advanced in the software world, and Linux has demonstrated the power behind that movement. I believe that hardware will start to ride a similar wave, and you’ll see organizations start sharing. They may not share everything, but as they incrementally offer up more and more solutions into the ecosystem, there’s going to be a broader benefit.”

Read full article

Article: Special Project: The Rise of Open Hardware

Hardware, Open Source, Software

Special Project: The Rise of Open Hardware

Market forces, limits of scaling and the emergence of disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence have fueled the rise of open source hardware. Still, as this EE Times Special Project demonstrates, physical, legal and economic barriers remain as a fledgling group of open source advocates and a handful of commercial vendors seek to democratized hardware design.

Those proponents and early adopters have focused their energies on reduced instruction set computing, the foundational RISC architecture that emerged from the University of California at Berkeley in the 1980s. RISC has seeded the beginnings of an ecosystem extending beyond processor technology to include open interconnects, network and, ultimately, open computing.

As with open source software, key chip makers are eyeing the open hardware movement. Some perhaps with trepidation as semiconductor scaling runs out of steam and monster GPUs and CPUs accelerators approach the end of the line, giving way to new heterogeneous devices and chiplets.

Read full article