Imagination launches full RISC-V computer architecture course

September 01, 2020 //By Nick Flaherty
Complete course for universities includes teaching materials and hands-on exercises for students is based around the Western Digital SwerRV core
Complete course for universities includes teaching materials and hands-on exercises for students is based around the Western Digital SwerRV core

Imagination Technologies has launched a complete course on RISC-V computer architecture for under-graduate teaching as part of its Imagination University Programme (IUP). The course is based around the SwerRV open source RISC-V core developed by Western Digital and marketed by Codasip.

The “RVfpga: Understanding Computer Architecture” course includes a rich set of teaching materials and practical exercises to help students understand the key elements of processor architecture, including IP cores, modifying a RISC-V core and their microarchitectures.

“RISC-V is transforming processor design and software/hardware co-design. RISC-V is an open architecture, which enables open-source hardware implementations,” said Prof David Patterson, who shares the ACM A.M. Turing Award with John Hennessy for contributions to RISC. “This new option means that software development can occur alongside hardware development, accelerating the design path. The RVfpga course enhances the understanding of not only RISC-V processors but also the RISC-V ecosystem and RISC-V SoCs. This course provides a deep understanding of an industrial-strength processor architecture and system of increasing popularity, which will prove useful to students throughout their academic and industry careers.”

The course is created in association with academic partners Associate Professor Sarah Harris, co-author of the “Digital Design & Computer Architecture” textbook which has been published in more than five languages and is a cornerstone of courses in computer architecture, and Associate Professor Daniel Chaver. It includes an instructor’s guide, a student manual, 10 comprehensive Labs (hands-on experiments), test materials, sample exam questions, and all the associated IP and software. To enable use in whole or in part, the source files of all the materials is provided. This flexible and open approach allows academic institutes to teach a fully featured course with the ability to augment or adapt as each teacher requires.

“RISC-V improves on previous processor generations in every conceivable way, from power consumption to performance and even increased security,” said Prof Harris. “As another huge step forward in computer architecture it is important


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