What is PicoRio¶
- Need more than processors to build a system
- Large cost to license other IPs in SoC: cache, interconnect, graphics, camera ISP, etc.
- Need an attractive open-source platform to try new hardware ideas.
- Security and trusted execution are not complete without a full-system support.
- RISC-V hardware extensions: JIT runtime, vector, etc.
- The community lacks affordable RISC-V hardware platforms that run a variety of software
- Few low-cost, software-capable boards for the long tail of developers.
- Developers won’t spend $1000 for a new hardware just for software development.
- Independently Maintained: The RIOS Lab will be the solo nonprofit organization that governs the architecture development, ensures compliance, and will publish the design. The RIOS Lab will be the gatekeeper for both hardware and software, from SoC and firmware/drivers to high-level software and documentation. PicoRio will be vendor agnostic and not proprietary, and the RIOS Lab will work with academic and commercial organizations that will commit to its expansion and volume manufacturing.
- Open Source: PicoRio will open source as many components as possible, including the CPU and main SoC design, chip package and board design files, device drivers, and firmware. The exceptions are foundry related IPs (e.g., TSMC SRAM configurations), commercial high-speed interfaces, and complex commercial IP blocks like GPU. Nevertheless, our goal is to reduce the commercial closed source IPs for each successive release of PicoRio, with the long term goal of having a version that is as open as practical.
- High-Quality IPs: A major goal of the RIOS Lab is to develop open-source, industrial strength hardware IPs to help the RISC-V ecosystem catch up with those of the older, proprietary ISAs. Thus, PicoRio aims at a high-quality silicon release using open-source IP. The IPs will have gone through rigorous real tapeout verifications that meet industry quality. The openness of PicoRio will not come at the cost of lower quality IP blocks. In addition, we will open source our verification process, which will help to improve transparency and trustworthiness.
- Low-Power and Low-Cost: The target metrics of PicoRio are long battery life and low cost, which is a better match to RISC-V today, instead of high performance and large memory.