The Increasingly Ordinary Task Of Verifying RISC-V


As RISC-V processor development matures and its usage in SoCs and microcontrollers grows, engineering teams are starting to look beyond the challenges of the processor core itself. So far, the majority of industry verification efforts have focused on ISA compliance to standardize the RISC-V core. Now the focus is shifting to be how to handle verification as the system grows, especially as this... » read more

Domain-Specific Processors Enable More Than Moore


Last month was the 55th anniversary of Gordon Moore’s famous paper Cramming more components onto integrated circuits. He took a long-term view of the trends in integrated circuits being implemented using successively smaller feature sizes in silicon. Since that paper, integrated circuit developers have been relying on three of his predictions: The number of transistors per chip increas... » read more

Practical Processor Verification


Custom processors are making a resurgence, spurred on by the early success of the RISC-V ISA and the ecosystem that is rapidly building around it. But this shift is amid questions about whether processor verification has become a lost art. Years ago custom processors were common. But as the market consolidated around a handful of companies, so did the tools and expertise needed to develop th... » read more

Why It’s So Hard To Create New Processors


The introduction, and initial success, of the RISC-V processor ISA has reignited interest in the design of custom processors, but the industry is now grappling with how to verify them. The expertise and tools that were once in the market have been consolidated into the hands of the few companies that have been shipping processor chips or IP cores over the past 20 years. Verification of a pro... » read more

Week In Review: IoT, Security, Autos


The United States signed trade agreements with the China (phase one agreement) and North American countries Mexico and Canada this week. The SIA (Semiconductor Industry Association), which represents the U.S. semiconductor industry, applauded the agreements. Still to be worked out is the second part, or phase two, of the U.S.’s agreement with China. AI/Edge M&A Apple is acquiring edge... » read more

RISC-V Markets, Security And Growth Prospects


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss open instruction set hardware with Ben Levine, senior director of product management in Rambus' Security Division; Jerry Ardizzone, vice president of worldwide sales at Codasip; Megan Wachs, vice president of engineering at SiFive; and Rishiyur Nikhil, CTO of Bluespec. What follows are excerpts of that conversation.  Part one of this discussion is ... » read more

Open ISAs Gaining Traction


Open instruction set architectures are starting to gain a foothold, often in combination with other processors, as chipmakers begin to add more specialized compute elements and more flexibility into their designs. There are a number of these open ISAs available today, including Power, MIPS, and RISC-V, and there are a number of permutations and tools available for sale based on those archite... » read more

What Is A Custom Processor?


Spurred by the latest cyclical development boom, the semiconductor industry is entering a new golden era of custom processors, but this time ‘custom processor’ means something different. A generation ago, every major semiconductor company had in-house processors: SuperH, PowerPC, V800, Alpha, MEP, Trimedia, etc., with some specializing more than others for particular domains. But industr... » read more

A Holistic View Of RISC-V Verification


Last month, we discussed the growth of the RISC-V open processor ecosystem, the two main organizations driving it, and the role that OneSpin plays. In addition, we have become very active in the RISC-V community and have more than a dozen technical articles published, conference talks presented, and upcoming talks accepted. We tend to focus on the challenges of verifying RISC-V IP cores and sys... » read more

Enabling The RISC-V Ecosystem


Earlier this year, OneSpin’s Sven Beyer discussed the emerging RISC-V processor and some of its verification challenges. He stated that “RISC-V is hot and stands at the beginning of what may be a major shift in the industry.” In the few intervening months, it has become even more apparent that RISC-V is fundamentally changing system-on-chip (SoC) development. Dozens of commercial and open... » read more

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