September 14, 2017 // 11 a.m.
UK semiconductor company UltraSoC has announced impending expansion, including new engineers at its Cambridge headquarters and the opening of a new facility in Bristol, driven by increasing interest in the open-source RISC-V processor architecture.
Specialising in semiconductor intellectual property (IP) for performance and security monitoring within system-on-chip (SoC) designs, UltraSoC has long been a contributor to the RISC-V project - an effort, led by the RISC-V Foundation, to develop a wholly open-source processor architecture capable of competing with mainstream architectures like x86 and Arm everywhere from low-power embedded microcontrollers all the way up to high-performance computing (HPC) systems.
It's a movement which UltraSoC credits with enabling its recent growth. 'There’s a perfect storm of factors revolutionising the technology business from top to bottom,' claims Rupert Baines, UltraSoC's chief executive, of the factors leading to his company's recent success. 'This goes far beyond the semiconductor industry. We’re seeing the emergence of "self-aware," self-optimising systems, including technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. For those of us focused on the semiconductor industry, we’re seeing a move away from the established single-vendor hegemony towards a much more open and almost "democratic" design model. This is exemplified by the RISC-V initiative, in which UltraSoC plays a leading role. At the same time, our technology, embedded deep in silicon chips and unseen by the wider world, answers many of the broader questions facing tech companies today. We are moving "beyond the chip."'
The company's growth is good news for the UK technology sector: In addition to the hiring of more engineers at its Cambridge-based headquarters, UltraSoC has announced that it will open a new facility in Bristol. Headed by Marcin Hlond, formerly of Blu Wireless, Nvidia, and Icera, the company's director of system engineering, the Bristol facility will host an engineering team concentrating on embedded analytics and visualisation while also acting as an innovation centre for new products including those focused on security and safety in the automotive industry.
'We've seen an increase in customer engagements; we're now well into double figures in terms of licensees for our IP,' Baines adds. 'Our growing list of CPU vendor partnerships enables us to support customers, whatever their platform choice. Those using RISC-V are accelerating particularly quickly; we have become the standard architecture for RISC-V debug and trace. We're expanding our team and extending our footprint in China and Russia to respond to these opportunities and to address the next set of challenges: building on the industry leadership we have in debug to deliver value from the rich information and analytics that we enable. We’re particularly pleased to welcome Marcin, whose combination of hardware and software expertise allows us to better serve the needs of engineering teams, throughout the system development flow, from silicon bring-up to in-life analytics for safety and security.'
UltraSoC has not yet provided a date for the opening of its Bristol facility.