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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Microsemi pushes RISC-V on FPGAs with eco-system of tools

By Nick Flaherty at www.flaherty.co.uk

Chip maker Microsemi has launched a series of IP, tools and partnerships to boost the use of the RISC-V processor core on its FPGAs.

The Mi-V RV32IMA development board and additional field programmable gate array (FPGA)-based soft CPUs are aimed at designs using RISC-V open instruction set architectures (ISAs), and can use other tools such as operating systems in an eco-system for developers.

“Microsemi is the first tier one vendor to build out a complete open RISC-V ecosystem, which not only supports our needs, but contributes to the entire development community,” said Jim Aralis, chief technology officer and vice president of advanced development at Microsemi. “Customers can now select RISC-V for their new designs knowing a tier one vendor committed to the success of this technology is providing all the necessary tools to confidently use RISC-V soft CPUs in their products.”

The open RISC-V ISA benefits from portability as well as enabling the open source community to test and improve cores at a faster pace than closed ISAs. As the RISC-V intellectual property (IP) core is not encrypted, it can be used to ensure trust and certifications not possible with closed architectures. 

Microsemi’s new Mi-V ecosystem brings together a number of industry leaders involved in the development of RISC-V to streamline RISC-V designs for customers.
Design tools include Microsemi’s SoftConsole Eclipse-based integrated development environment (IDE), the firmware catalog and Libero PolarFire system-on-chip (SoC). Operating systems include Express Logic’s ThreadX, Huawei LiteOS and Micrium ┬ÁC/OS-II. Boards include the RTG4 development kit, IGLOO2 RISC-V board from Future Electronics, PolarFire Evaluation Kit and more. Debug dongles from Microsemi and Olimex, first-stage bootloaders and numerous soft peripherals are also included. Example projects, drivers and firmware are all available on GitHub, the world’s largest repository of open source software.

“Micrium is pleased to join Microsemi’s Mi-V ecosystem with our highly dependable uC/OS-II real-time kernel, a full-featured embedded operating system,” said Jean Labrosse, co-founder and chief architect at Micrium. “As RISC-V continues to grow in popularity, we look forward to working closely with Microsemi to support accelerated adoption of its RISC-V soft CPU product offerings as well as the entire ecosystem’s RISC-V advancements.”

Deployment of soft CPUs implemented with the R11C-V ISA is automatic and delivered to the user’s desktop via Microsemi’s IP Catalog. No end user license agreements are needed to gain access to the soft CPUs. Using RISC-V soft CPUs within the Mi-V ecosystem is simple, easy and free.

“Express Logic is pleased to be a foundational part of Microsemi’s Mi-V RISC-V ecosystem,” said William E. Lamie, President, Express Logic. “Our X-Ware Internet-of-Things (IoT) platform, including the industry-leading ThreadX RTOS with over 6.2 billion deployments, is the preferred embedded software platform for all designs requiring industrial-grade run-time solutions—making us an ideal fit for this new consortium.”

Microsemi is aiming the Mi-V soft CPU cores at IoT, secure communications and wireline bridging applications.

www.microsemi.com/design-support/accelerate-ecosystem-partners.

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