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ACM SIGDA Technical Committee on FPGAs and Reconfigurable Computing

Open Source Processors
posted by Andre on Friday October 01, @08:21AM
from the look-what's-out-there dept.
Open Source phwl writes "There are many open-source microprocessor designs available on the web and some of the major ones are briefly reviewed here. The most comprehensive site is OpenCores with about a hundred open-source processors of different types including:
  • The popular OpenRISC 32/64-bit RISC/DSP processor from the OpenCores community. Developed using Verilog, this processor includes open source development tools, operating systems and libraries.
  • Plasma, a clean-room implementation of the MIPS-I by Steve Rhoads.
  • Acquarius, a complete implementation of the Hitachi SuperH-2 in Verilog with Wishbone bus by Thorn Aitch.
  • Clones of commercial processors such as the Zilog z80, MOS Technology 6502, and DEC PDP-11.
A number of commercial-quality designs implementing Sun Microsystem’s SPARC architecture are available:
  • The LEON processor, was originally developed by the European Space Agency and is a 32-bit synthesisable processor core based on the V8 architecture. The core is written in VHDL, highly configurable, and particularly suitable for system-on-a-chip (SOC) designs.
  • Sun Microsystems's 64-bit T1 and T2 processors available from the OpenSPARC site. The T1 processor has 8 cores, each of which can execute 4 simultaneous threads. The T2 also has 8 cores with each being able to execute 8 threads. Full Verilog source code is provided and a goal of making it available is "to significantly increase participation in processor architecture development and application design by making cutting-edge hardware intellectual property freely available. "
  • Simply RISC’s S1 core is simple one derived from OpenSPARC. It has a single core capable of executing 4 threads, Wishbone/AMBA bridge and a reset controller.
Not all applications require high performance. Some examples of processors with small footprint are:
  • The PacoBlaze processor which was developed by Pablo Bleyer Kocik and is a Verilog clone of Xilinx’s PicoBlaze, a lightweight 8-bit processor for embedded applications. An assembler written in Java is included.
  • Forth is a stack-based programming language and a number of processors have been made open-source including: RTXcore, a VHDL clean-room implementation of the Intersil RTX-2000 processor was developed by MicroProcessor Engineering and includes Forth and C compilers; the P16 processor was developed by C.H. Ting and uses a minimal instruction set computer architecture; finally, Bernd Paysan developed the 4stack and b16 processors which both have minimal instruction sets and are designed for high performance and small area respectively.
Various research processors include the following:
  • A soft vector processor for Altera FPGAs written in Verilog by Jason Yu at the University of British Columbia.
  • SPREE, a soft processorrapid exploration environment developed by Peter Yiannacouras at the University of Toronto.
Have you had any experiences with these processors? What other open-source processors should be included in this list?"

Stellarton Configurable Intel Atom Processor with | Using cluster-based logic blocks and timing-driven packing to improve FPGA speed and density (1999)  >


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Related Links
  • OpenCores
  • OpenRISC
  • Plasma
  • Acquarius
  • LEON
  • OpenSPARC
  • Simply RISC
  • S1
  • Wishbone
  • PacoBlaze
  • PicoBlaze
  • RTXcore
  • P16
  • 4stack
  • b16
  • soft vector processor
  • More on Open Source
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