Semidynamics launches customisable RISC-V IP cores

17th April 2023
Kiera Sowery

Semidynamics has announced a customisable, 64-bit RISC-V family of cores that are suitable for handling large amounts of data for applications such as AI, Machine Learning (ML) and High-Performance Computing (HPC). The cores are process agnostic with versions already being supplied down to 5nm.

Semidynamics CEO and Founder, Roger Espasa, explained: “Until now, RISC-V processor cores had configurations that were fixed by the vendor or had a very limited number of configurable options such as cache size, address bus size, interfaces and a few other control parameters. Our new IP cores enable the customer to have total control over the configuration, be it new instructions, separate address spaces, new memory accessing capabilities, etc. This means that we can precisely tailor a core to meet each project’s needs so there are no unrequired overheads or compromises. Even more importantly, we can implement a customer’s ‘secret sauce’ features into the RTL in a matter of weeks, which is something that no-one else offers. Every designer using RISC-V wants to have the perfect set of Power, Performance and Area along with unique differentiating features and now, for the first time, they can have just that from us.”

The first in the family, which is available for licensing now, is the Atrevido core. This has Out-of-Order scheduling that is combined with the company’s proprietary Gazzillion technology so that it can handle highly sparse data with long latencies and with high bandwidth memory systems that are typical of current machine learning applications. Effectively, Gazzillion technology removes the latency issues that can occur when using CXL technology to enable far away memory to be accessed at the supercharged rates that it was designed to deliver. 

The Gazzillion technology is specifically designed for Recommendation Systems that are a key part of Data Centre Machine Learning. By supporting over a hundred misses per core, an SoC can be designed that delivers highly sparse data to the compute engines without a large silicon investment. In addition, the core can be configured from 2-way up to 4-way to help accelerate the not-so-parallel portions of Recommendation Systems.

For the most demanding workloads, such as HPC, the Atrevido core supports large memory capacities with its 64-bit native data path and 48-bit physical address paths.

Espasa added: “We have the fastest cores on the market for moving large amounts of data with a cache line per clock at high frequencies even when the data does not fit in the cache. And we can do that at frequencies up to 2.4GHz on the right node. The rest of the market averages about a cache line every many, many cycles, that is nowhere near our one every cycle. So, if the application streams a lot of data and/or the application touches very large data that does not fit in cache, we have the best RISC-V cores on the market for your use case.” 

With its complete MMU support, Atrevido is also Linux-ready including supporting cache-coherent, multi-processing environments from two and up to hundreds of cores. It is vector ready, supporting both the RISC-V Vector Specification 1.0 as well as the upcoming Semidynamics Open Vector Interface. Vector instructions densely encode large numbers of computations to reduce the energy used by each operation. Vector Gather instructions support sparse tensor weights efficiently to help with machine learning workloads.

He concluded: “We have been in stealth mode while we created the core architecture that the RISC-V community really wants – one with full customisability, not just a few tweakable settings. No-one else has such a complex RISC-V core that can be totally configured to perfectly meet the specific needs of each project rather than having to use an off-the-shelf core and compromise.”

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