SiFive and Rambus to boost ‘DesignShare’ silicon economy

August 22, 2017 // By Julien Happich
SiFive and Rambus to boost ‘DesignShare’ silicon economy
Founded in 2015 by RISC-V inventors Andrew Waterman, Yunsup Lee and Krste Asanovic, Silicon Valley startup SiFive aims to democratize the access to custom silicon. With a free and open instruction set architecture, RISC-V, the founders pledge to reduce time-to-market and costs for many system designers, promising: no NDAs, instant evaluation and fair, no royalty pricing.

Being a fabless provider of customized, open-source-enabled semiconductors, SiFive calls for other companies to contribute to a novel DesignShare concept, offering IP at a reduced cost.

The startup just announced it will partner with IP provider Rambus, to embark Rambus' cryptography technology onto its SiFive Freedom platforms. By providing low- or no-cost IP to emerging companies, SiFive, Rambus and other ecosystem partners of this DesignShare movement lower the upfront engineering costs required to bring a custom chip design based on the SiFive Freedom platform.

“To fulfill our mission to democratize access to custom silicon and upend the stagnant semiconductor industry, SiFive is committed to recruiting leading-edge companies like Rambus to help us revolutionize SoC design,” said SiFive's CEO Naveed Sherwani in a company statement.

“The growing ecosystem of DesignShare IP providers ensures that aspiring system designers have a catalog of IP from which to choose when designing their SoC. We’re thrilled that Rambus has joined us in enabling innovation through DesignShare, and we look forward to future success together.”

Rambus will collaborate with SiFive to provide critical security components such as cryptographic cores, hardware root-of-trust, key provisioning and high-value services that are enabled by design.

“SiFive and Rambus have agreed to partner with an intent of providing chip-to-cloud-to-crowd security solutions that easily integrate with the SiFive Freedom platform and support the open and growing RISC-V hardware ecosystem. Our security cores, embedded in Freedom Platform SOCs will enable secure in-field device connection and attestation for updates and diagnostics”, added Martin Scott, senior vice president and general manager of Rambus Security Division.

SiFive started shipping the industry’s first RISC-V SoC last November and announced the availability of its Coreplex RISC-V based IP earlier this month.

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