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Canadian University Researchers Now Have Access to Tensilica Prototyping Technology


SANTA CLARA, Calif. - CMC Microsystems has upgraded its license for Tensilica’s Xtensa® LX2 processor generator, boosting the prototyping capability available to university researchers through Canada’s System-on-Chip Research Network (SOCRN).

This technology, which helps optimize designs by reducing the power and increasing the efficiency of the chip, will enable engineers at 36 participating SOCRN universities to create FPGA-based hardware prototypes for designs that include customized versions of the Xtensa LX2 processor. The agreement will enable wider use and application of system-on-chip (SOC) designs with Tensilica’s Xtensa-based configurable processor technology.

Under Tensilica’s University Program, students, researchers and instructors at all universities can access software tools and simulation technology for designs using Tensilica’s Xtensa processors. Traditionally, universities must pay for hardware access. However, universities that are members of the SOCRN can now access this technology at no cost to their institution.

The SOCRN is an important part of a larger national program managed by CMC Microsystems. CMC provides more than 2,300 Canadian faculty members and graduate students with access to millions of dollars worth of tools and technologies for microsystems research. This model offers a more efficient and cost-effective way for researchers to benefit from a wealth of industry-grade infrastructure, as opposed to pursuing access to these resources individually.

“Tensilica’s Xtensa LX2 configurable processor can provide the I/O bandwidth, parallelism, and low power consumption equivalent to hand-coded blocks,” stated Jim Roche, president and CEO of CMC. “Tensilica’s design automation tools also allow researchers to quickly generate customized versions of the Xtensa LX2 processor optimized for their application. This allows them to validate their designs without the cost and time of fabrication. In our first year working with Tensilica, several lead researchers and their graduate students have benefited from these tools. Under this new agreement, CMC will be able to deliver this technology to even more Canadian researchers over the next two years.”

“CMC is demonstrating leadership by providing Canadian university researchers with access to leading-edge products for integrated circuit design that would typically exceed their reach,” stated Steve Roddy, Tensilica’s vice president of Marketing. “The SOCRN, managed by CMC, promotes new and innovative SOC design activity that promises to advance the art of integrated circuit design in the university labs and companies that develop electronic products.”


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