Free and open source silicon pioneer Antmicro has published a series of benchmark results designed to pit a selection of cores head-to-head in real-world workloads, using the Embench benchmark suite maintained by the FOSSi Foundation.
“Embench, maintained by the FOSSi Foundation we proudly participate in, is an open source embedded benchmark test suite which aims to respond to the needs of modern embedded systems,” the company explains of its choice to use Embench. “It is free (as in both ‘beer’ and ‘freedom’ — you can get it from GitHub), easily portable, simple to use and provides a set of real programs, as opposed to the synthetic workloads offered by some of its proprietary counterparts.
“This allows it to accurately reflect how the tested CPU is going to behave once implemented in hardware. Being a suite rather than a single program, it allows the user to do tests with a complex, realistic workload and is easy to develop to accommodate the changes in compilers and hardware.”
Antmicro has taken Embench and run it across a selection of popular free and open source silicon cores, including VexRiscV, PicoRV32, Minerva, Microwatt, and Serv, covering the RISC-V, ML32, OpenRISC, and OpenPOWER instruction set architectures. Each is run through a collection of real-world workloads including hashing, cryptographic operations, sorting, and image compression, and their performance recorded.
“Here, we’ve used Embench to compare CPUs in multiple LiteX-based SoCs in an automatic CI [continuous integration] testing flow,” the company writes. …
FOSSi Dial-Up has been running for three episodes now and it was a great joy and success. In this edition of ECL I want to quickly recap what has happened so far and where you can binge the previous three episode.
Brian Bailey, technology editor for electronic design automation (EDA) at Semiconductor Engineering, has penned a piece looking into exactly what is meant by “open-source verification” — and how it can leave the door open to novel approaches not previously considered by the industry.
“Ask different people what open-source verification means and you will get a host of different answers,” Brian explains. “They range from the verification of open-source hardware, to providing an open-source verification infrastructure, to providing open-source stream generators or reference models, to open-source simulators and formal verification engines.”
The article discusses the topic with industry exports including Neil Hand of Mentor, Roddy Urquhart of Codasip, Olivera Stojanovic of Vtool, and Darko Tomusilovic at Vtool, along with represenatives from Ansys, Quicklogic, Imagination Technologies, OneSpin Solutions, Google, OpenHW Group, Cadence, and more.
“The open-source community has been disadvantaged by mainstream IP having not fully tackled the problem,” Brian argues. …