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In order to advance open source hardware, the Linux Foundation announced a new CHIPS Alliance project yesterday. Backed by Esperanto, Google, SiFive, and Western Digital, the CHIPS Alliance project “will foster a collaborative environment that will enable accelerated creation and deployment of more efficient and flexible chip designs for use in mobile, computing, consumer electronics, and IoT applications.

The project will help in making open source CPU chip and system-on-a-chip (SoC) design more accessible to the market, by creating an independent entity where companies and individuals can collaborate and contribute resources. It will provide the chip community with access to high-quality, enterprise-grade hardware. This project will include a Board of Directors, a Technical Steering Committee, and community contributors who will work collectively to manage the project.

To initiate the process, Google will contribute a Universal Verification Methodology (UVM)-based instruction stream generator environment for RISC-V cores. The environment provides configurable, highly stressful instruction sequences that can verify architectural and micro-architectural corner-cases of designs.

SiFive will improve the RocketChip SoC generator and the TileLink interconnect fabric in opensource as a member of the CHIPS Alliance. They will also contribute to Chisel (a new opensource hardware description language), and the FIRRTL intermediate representation specification. SiFive will also maintain Diplomacy, the SoC parameter negotiation framework.

Western Digital, another contributor will provide high performance, 9-stage, dual issue, 32-bit SweRV Core, together with a test bench, and high-performance SweRV instruction set simulator. They will also contribute implementations of OmniXtend cache coherence protocol.

Looking ahead Dr. Yunsup Lee, co-founder, and CTO, SiFive said in a statement “A healthy, vibrant semiconductor industry needs a significant number of design starts, and the CHIPS Alliance will fill this need.

More information is available at CHIPS Alliance org.

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