XMOS unveils first Software Defined Silicon
Date: 28 November 2007
XMOS Semiconductor, the creator of Software Defined Silicon (SDS), a new class of programmable semiconductor, today announced it has working silicon and beta design tools in the lab. Test chips were produced by TSMC on its 90nm G process. XMOS innovative multi-processor approach to configurable semiconductor devices brings a new level of flexibility and low-cost to a broad range of consumer applications.
Central to the XMOS technology is a compact, event-driven, multi-threaded processor called XCore™. With up to 500MIPs to share across up to 8 threads, the XCore engine readily implements a range of complex hardware functions. Access to its computational and control capabilities is through a familiar embedded software design flow. By using C-based behavioral languages, designers can quickly map white-board functional specifications into silicon.
David May, CTO and founder of XMOS said, “We estimate that the worlds universities are producing 20-30 software designers for every hardware engineer. This shouldn't be a surprise, since the responsibility of product differentiation increasingly lies in the software domain. By introducing an accessible and familiar processor architecture, tightly coupled with an event-driven system and multi-threading philosophy we are offering today's silicon designers with the tools they really need.”
The XCore processor is tightly coupled to the outside world through a set of event driven input-output ports, and inter-thread communication is provided by XLink™, a channel mechanism that allows threads and XCores to interact at the hardware level. These bridges between the physical world and the processor engine provide a stable and simple interface for the software designer and the hardware engineer.
Design tools and engineering samples of first-generation XMOS SDS chips will be available in the first half of 2008. Production volumes will follow 1-2 quarters later. These devices will be in the $1-$10 cost range to support cost-sensitive, high volume applications.
A presentation outlining the XMOS SDS technology is available for download at www.xmos.com/sds-tech.pdf.
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XMOS is delivering an event-driven, multi-threaded processor engine technology that designers access through a unified C-based software flow. The companies Software Defined Silicon (SDS) is a completely new class of programmable semiconductor.
Meeting the production demands of consumer markets, XMOS devices are being integrated into some of the most cost- and time-constrained applications. Leveraging rapid design cycles made possible through the use of an efficient high-level design language, XMOS customers can delight their end markets with compelling differentiation within time and budget constraints.
XMOS Semiconductor was founded in July 2005 by a team including David May, Professor of Computer Science at Bristol University and James Foster, the former CEO of Oxford Semiconductor. Headquartered in Bristol, UK, XMOS is privately held and backed by venture capital firms Foundation Capital, Amadeus Capital Partners, and DFJ Esprit. For more information visit www.xmos.com