Collaboration Enabled by Microsemi's Mi-V Ecosystem, Designed to Drive Adoption of FPGA-Based RISC-V Designs
ALISO VIEJO, Calif. -- Dec. 12, 2017 -- Microsemi Corporation (Nasdaq: MSCC), a leading provider of semiconductor solutions differentiated by power, security, reliability and performance, and Imperas Software Ltd., the leader in high-performance software simulation and virtual platforms, today announced the Extendable Platform Kit™ for Microsemi Mi-V™ RISC-V soft central processing units (CPUs). The collaboration delivers the first commercially available instruction set simulator (ISS) for Microsemi's Mi-V ecosystem, a program designed to increase adoption of Microsemi's RISC-V soft CPU product family utilizing RISC-V open instruction set architectures (ISAs).
"Building out the Mi-V RISC-V ecosystem with the Imperas Extendable Platform Kit (EPK™) is a vital piece of our ecosystem offering as we continue to expand this program and enhance our ability to deliver innovative solutions for customers," said Bruce Weyer, vice president and business unit manager at Microsemi. "The Imperas EPK allows for rapid software development and debugging of corner cases when using Mi-V soft CPUs on Microsemi field programmable gate array (FPGA) products. We look forward to working with Imperas and other Mi-V ecosystem members to deliver more RISC-V processor-based solutions."
Imperas' Virtual Extendable Platform Kit provides a software simulation environment for the development, debugging and testing of software running on Microsemi's RISC-V soft core. This environment, with improved controllability, visibility, repeatability and ease of automation, accelerates software development. This enables higher quality software, particularly for applications demanding reliability, safety and security. As the first commercially supported ISS for RISC-V processors, with debug integrated with SoftConsole, the kit is also an example platform running the FreeRTOS operating system. Customers can now choose commercially supported ISS for their software development tasks versus an open source, self-support-style ISS.
"Microsemi has taken a leading role in the RISC-V community, helping drive this technology which delivers both technical and business innovations," said Simon Davidmann, Imperas CEO. "Imperas is thrilled to be collaborating with Microsemi to offer software development tools that play a key role in supporting the early adoption of RISC-V-based silicon."
In addition to enabling agile software development and testing, the EPK provides enhanced visibility into the processor subsystem, offering software debug, test and analysis capabilities not typically found in silicon. The EPK is ideal for developing a wide variety of applications within the aerospace and defense, communications and industrial markets, including strategic weapons platforms, secure communications, wireline aggregation and machine vision.
RISC-V, an ISA which is now a standard open architecture under the governance of the RISC-V Foundation, offers numerous benefits, including 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. Portability is another benefit of the technology. For example, designers can begin development with Microsemi's RISC-V core in its FPGAs and then move to an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) royalty-free.
"Interest in RISC-V is growing rapidly, with most leading semiconductor companies already supporting the RISC-V Foundation," said Linley Gwennap, principal analyst of The Linley Group. "As these companies start new designs, they create opportunities for ecosystem suppliers to support them."
Recent Collaboration Demonstrations at RISC-V Foundation Workshop
The collaboration between Microsemi and Imperas was showcased in a special presentation at the 7th RISC-V Workshop recently, where preview demonstrations were conducted by Microsemi, Imperas and other Microsemi Mi-V ecosystem members. Through Microsemi's early involvement in the creation of the RISC-V Foundation, the company has an established leadership role in the emerging standard and ecosystem and is working closely with the nonprofit to ensure the ISA becomes an industry standard for a wide variety of computing devices.
Ted Speers, head of product architecture and planning for Microsemi's Programmable business unit, was appointed to the inaugural board of directors of the RISC-V Foundation in July 2016, and Ted Marena, director of FPGA marketing, was recently sworn in as chair of the RISC-V Marketing Committee after serving as vice-chair since August 2016. The Mi-V Ecosystem began as part of the Microsemi Accelerate Ecosystem, a program designed to reduce time to market for end customers and time to revenue for ecosystem participants.
About Microsemi's Accelerate Ecosystem
Microsemi's Accelerate Ecosystem facilitates collaboration between Microsemi and leading firms in the semiconductor integrated circuit (IC), IP, systems, software, tools and design spaces to integrate, test and deliver pre-validated designs and system-level solutions for end customers in Microsemi's key vertical markets—aerospace and defense, data center, communications and industrial. The Accelerate Ecosystem is designed to reduce time-to-market for end customers and time-to-revenue for Microsemi and ecosystem members via technology alignment, joint marketing and sales acceleration. Learn more at https://www.microsemi.com/product-directory/4194-partners.
The Extendable Platform Kit for Microsemi soft Mi-V RISC-V CPUs is available now. For more information, visit https://www.microsemi.com/products/fpga-soc/mi-v-ecosystem.
About Microsemi's FPGAs
Microsemi's new cost-optimized PolarFire® FPGAs deliver the industry's lowest power at mid-range densities with exceptional security and reliability. The product family features 12.7 Gbps SerDes transceivers at up to 50 percent lower power than competing FPGAs. With densities spanning from 100K to 500K logic elements (LEs), the non-volatile PolarFire product family consumes 10 times less static power than competitive devices and features an even lower standby power referred to as Flash*Freeze. The company's IGLOO™2 FPGAs and SmartFusion™2 SoC FPGAs deliver more resources in low density devices, with the lowest power, proven security and exceptional reliability. The devices offer 30-50 percent more power efficiency and are ideal for general purpose functions such as Gigabit Ethernet or dual PCI Express control planes, bridging functions, input/output (I/O) expansion and conversion, video/image processing, system management and secure connectivity. Microsemi's RTG4™ FPGAs bring new capabilities to the market and combine a wealth of features with the highest quality and reliability to meet the increasing demands of modern satellite payloads. RTG4's reprogrammable flash technology offers complete immunity to radiation-induced configuration upsets in the harshest radiation environments, without the configuration scrubbing required with SRAM FPGA technology.
For more information about Imperas, please see www.imperas.com.
Microsemi Corporation (Nasdaq: MSCC) offers a comprehensive portfolio of semiconductor and system solutions for aerospace & defense, communications, data center and industrial markets. Products include high-performance and radiation-hardened analog mixed-signal integrated circuits, FPGAs, SoCs and ASICs; power management products; timing and synchronization devices and precise time solutions, setting the world's standard for time; voice processing devices; RF solutions; discrete components; enterprise storage and communication solutions, security technologies and scalable anti-tamper products; Ethernet solutions; Power-over-Ethernet ICs and midspans; as well as custom design capabilities and services. Microsemi is headquartered in Aliso Viejo, California and has approximately 4,800 employees globally. Learn more at www.microsemi.com.