On January 18, 2017, the ESD Alliance, as part of the continuing Jim Hogan Emerging Companies Series, held a panel session, “Discussion of Open Source Processors and the RISC-V Project” .

The number Internet of Things (IoT) designs is growing at an astronomic pace. IoT devices are now capable of sensing the real world. However today they are prevalent at edge of the internet, communicating with an external host to process that real-world information.

There are tremendous advantages in terms of performance and cost in processing the data locally, but doing so requires significant processing capability at very low energy utilization.  Systems designed with autonomous local intelligence have been increasing. These systems require a microcontroller that can run software – which takes time and energy. Solutions from ARM have been a popular choice, in part due to the significant ecosystem that has evolved to support these system designs.

All this goodness comes at a price.  What has emerged from the academic community are open source alternatives such as RISC-V, from UC Berkeley, which has gained momentum over the last few years.  At this event, Jim Hogan interviewed Rick O’Connor, Executive Director of RISC-V Foundation, Yunsup Lee, one of the original developers of RISC-V and now CTO of SiFive, and Ted Speers, Head of Product Architecture and Planning for the SoC Group, Microsemi ,about the path from inception to success of the open source RISC-V ecosystem.  This inside perspective explored whether an open source architecture is ready to be a solution to our IoT processing needs and what that means for startups and innovation.

Video preview of the Open Source Processor Panel. ESD Alliance members can watch the full video (login required).

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