December 3, 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 behavioural languages, designers can quickly map white-board functional specifications into silicon.
David May, CTO and founder of XMOS said, "We estimate that the world’s 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.