A significant global expansion to address the increasing demand for more sophisticated, ‘self-aware’ silicon chips in a range of electronic products, from lightweight sensors to the server farms that power the Internet has been announced by UltraSoC.
The company’s growth plan, which comes on the back of positive customer traction and the recent injection of $6m in new equity, encompasses the opening of a second UK location, an aggressive development and innovation program enabled by a substantial increase in engineering headcount, and new commercial agreements in countries around the world.
The company’s growth reflects shifts in applications such as server optimisation, the IoT, and automotive safety and security, all of which demand significant improvements in the intelligence embedded inside chips. Added to this, technical advancements rooted in the Open Source movement, such as RISC-V architecture, are driving significant changes in the commercial landscape of the semiconductor industry, creating a compelling case for the use of the company’s technology.
“There’s a perfect storm of factors revolutionising the technology business from top to bottom,” commented Rupert Baines, UltraSoC CEO. “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,” Baines continued. “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.”
UltraSoC’s Semiconductor Intellectual Property (SIP) simplifies development and provides valuable embedded analytic features for designers of SoCs (Systems on Chip). UltraSoC has developed its technology - originally designed as a chip development tool to help developers make better products - to now fulfil much wider, pressing needs in an array of applications: safety and security in the automotive industry, where the move towards autonomous vehicles is creating unprecedented change and risk; optimisation in big data applications, from Internet search to data centres; and security for the Internet of Things.
These developments will be accelerated by the addition of a new facility in Bristol, UK, which will be home to an engineering and innovation team headed by Marcin Hlond, newly appointed as Director of System Engineering. Hlond will oversee UltraSoC’s embedded analytics and visualisation products, and lead product development and innovation. He has over two decades of experience as system architect and developer, most recently at Blu Wireless, NVidia and Icera. He will focus on fulfilling customers’ needs for more capable analytics and rich information to enable more efficient development of SoCs, and to enhance the reliability and security of a broad range of electronic products.
At the same time, the company will continue to expand engineering headcount at its headquarters in Cambridge, UK.
Speaking of UltraSoC’s expansion, Rupert Baines said: “We’ve seen an increase in customer engagements; we’re now well into double figures in terms of licensees for our IP. 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.”
This latest expansion was made possible by UltraSoC’s recently announced successful funding round, which brought a line-up of new investors - including Atlante Tech, Enso Ventures and Oxford Capital - and board members, including EDA industry pioneer Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, now a member of UltraSoC’s Strategic Advisory Board. The company’s global expansion also recently saw UltraSoC appoint Nautech as its technical sales representative in Russia.
The Bristol team continues UltraSoC’s successful development of debug, safety and security tools which, along with increased awareness of the benefits of using its technology, has already meant a series of significant commercial engagements. Existing customers include HiSilicon (Huawei), Imagination Technologies, Movidius (now Intel), and Microsemi - all of which use UltraSoC technology to deliver proven hardware-embedded benefits to their customers. UltraSoC partners with leading names in the semiconductor industry including ARM, Baysand, Cadence/Tensilica, CEVA, Codasip, Lauterbach, MIPS and Teledyne LeCroy to bring these benefits to customers across all processor architectures in a vendor-neutral way.