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Here are a couple of chip-related news bytes for you. An IBM engineer has released the first soft-core implementation of an OpenPOWER CPU since Big Blue's decision to open up the specification, and Intel says it is "shipping" its first 10nm Agilex FPGAs.
Watt the heck?
Month - IBM - Footsteps - RISC-V - Gang
Earlier this month, IBM announced it will follow in the footsteps of the RISC-V gang and open up the specifications of its OpenPOWER instruction set architecture.
That move will allow people to design their own OpenPOWER-compatible microprocessors at no cost: no royalties or license fees need to be paid to IBM nor the OpenPOWER Foundation, the latter of which is moving into the Linux Foundation. The grand plan is to encourage designers to implement OpenPOWER CPU cores in their future chips, and give the ecosystem some extra love.
Part - Announcement - IBM - Implementation - OpenPOWER
As part of that announcement, IBM promised a soft-core implementation of an OpenPOWER processor would be released, allowing folks to configure an FPGA to act as an OpenPOWER device, evaluate the architecture, and possibly improve it. Think of this implementation as a reference or starting guide to crafting your own OpenPOWER CPU.
Well, true to its word, the soft-core implementation, dubbed Microwatt, is now available from GitHub, and was developed by IBM distinguished engineer Anton Blanchard. The repo contains the necessary VHDL 2008 code describing the circuitry needed to create the processor core, and instructions on how to build and simulate it to run Python natively on the soft-hardware. You should also be able to configure an FPGA to run it direct, or drop it...
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