SiFive and Rambus to provide IP for the ‘DesignShare’ economy

This entry was posted on Monday, August 21st, 2017.

SiFive has announced a collaborative partnership with Rambus. More specifically, the latter company’s security technology will be made available for use with SiFive’s Freedom platforms. This includes a hardware root-of-trust, cryptographic cores, key provisioning capabilities and high-value services that are enabled by design.

As SiFive CEO Naveed Sherwani points out, leading companies in the semiconductor ecosystem have developed a new DesignShare concept to offer IP at a reduced cost. This paradigm helps accelerate time to market and remove the barriers that have traditionally blocked smaller players from developing custom silicon.

According to Sherwani, the DesignShare model gives any company, inventor or maker the ability to harness the power of custom silicon, enabling an entirely new range of applications. Companies such as SiFive, Rambus and other ecosystem partners provide low- or no-cost IP to emerging companies, lowering the upfront engineering costs required to bring a custom chip design based on the SiFive Freedom platform to realization.

“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,” Sherwani stated in a recent press release. “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.”

Martin Scott, senior vice president and general manager of Rambus’ Security Division, expressed similar sentiments.

“Rambus and SiFive share a similar philosophy of easing the path to designing innovative and cost-effective SoCs,” said Scott. “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.”

It should be noted that SiFive was founded by the inventors of RISC-V – Yunsup Lee, Andrew Waterman and Krste Asanovic – with a mission to democratize access to custom silicon. In its first six months of availability, more than 1,000 HiFive1 software development boards have been purchased and delivered to developers in over 40 countries. Additionally, the company has engaged with multiple customers across its IP and SoC products, started shipping the industry’s first RISC-V SoC in November 2016 and announced the availability of its Coreplex RISC-V based IP earlier this month.