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Customizing Processors


The design, verification, and implementation of a processor is the core competence of some companies, but others just want to whip up a small processor as quickly and cheaply as possible. What tools and options exist? Processors range from very small, simple cores that are deeply embedded into products to those operating at the highest possible clock speeds and throughputs in data centers. I... » read more

ISA Extension For Low-Precision NN Training On RISC-V Cores


New technical paper titled "MiniFloat-NN and ExSdotp: An ISA Extension and a Modular Open Hardware Unit for Low-Precision Training on RISC-V cores" from researchers at IIS, ETH Zurich; DEI, University of Bologna; and Axelera AI. Abstract "Low-precision formats have recently driven major breakthroughs in neural network (NN) training and inference by reducing the memory footprint of the N... » read more

Why RISC-V Is Succeeding


There is no disputing the excitement surround the introduction of the RISC-V processor architecture. Yet while many have called it a harbinger of a much broader open-source hardware movement, the reasons behind its success are not obvious, and the implications for an expansion of more open-source cores is far from certain. “The adoption of RISC-V as the preferred architecture for many sili... » read more

Sweeping Changes Ahead For Systems Design


Data centers are undergoing a fundamental change, shifting from standard processing models to more data-centric approaches based upon customized hardware, less movement of data, and more pooling of resources. Driven by a flood of web searches, Bitcoin mining, video streaming, data centers are in a race to provide the most efficient and fastest processing possible. But because there are so ma... » read more

RISC-V Targets Data Centers


RISC-V vendors are beginning to aim much higher in the compute hierarchy, targeting data centers and supercomputers rather than just simple embedded applications on the edge. In the past, this would have been nearly impossible for a new instruction set architecture. But a growing focus on heterogeneous chip integration, combined with the reduced benefits of scaling and increasing demand for ... » read more

ISA Ownership Matters: A Tale of Three ISAs


An instruction set architecture (ISA) is crucial to the development of processors and their software ecosystems. In the last half century, the majority of ISAs have been owned by single companies, whether product companies for their own chips/systems or processor IP companies who licensed their processors to chip developers. Does ISA ownership matter? Let’s consider three proprietary ISAs a... » read more

Slower Metal Bogs Down SoC Performance


Metal interconnect delays are rising, offsetting some of the gains from faster transistors at each successive process node. Older architectures were born in a time when compute time was the limiter. But with interconnects increasingly viewed as the limiter on advanced nodes, there’s an opportunity to rethink how we build systems-on-chips (SoCs). ”Interconnect delay is a fundamental tr... » read more

RISC-V: Will There Be Other Open-Source Cores?


Part 3: Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss the business and technology landscape for RISC-V with Zdenek Prikryl, CTO of Codasip; Helena Handschuh, a Rambus Security Technologies fellow; Louie De Luna, director of marketing at Aldec; Shubhodeep Roy Choudhury, CEO of Valtrix Systems; and Bipul Talukdar, North America director of applications engineering at SmartDV. What follows are exc... » read more

RISC-V’s Expanding Footprint


Zdenek Prikryl, CTO of Codasip, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about the RISC-V market, where this open instruction set architecture (ISA) is gaining ground, and what are the biggest challenges in working with this technology. SE: Where do you see the value in RISC-V? Is it for off-the-shelf processors or more customized components? Prikryl: A few years ago, RISC-V was us... » read more

A Sneak Peek Into SVE And VLA Programming


Download this white paper to get an overview of SVE, get information on the new registers and the new instructions, and learn about the Vector Length Agnostic (VLA) programming technique, including some examples. The Scalable Vector Extension (SVE) is an extension of the ARMv8-A A64 instruction set, recently announced by ARM. Following the announcement at Hot Chips 28, a few articles describ... » read more

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