London, United Kingdom, December 6, 2021-Imagination Technologies announced the launch of the Catapult series of RISC-V central processing unit (CPU) product lines. These fully innovatively designed CPU products are designed to meet the needs of next-generation heterogeneous computing.
RISC-V is an open source CPU architecture that is changing processor design, and Imagination’s RISC-V-based Catapult CPU can be configured according to various application scenarios such as performance, efficiency, or balance between the two, making it suitable for a wider range of applications market.
For the past 20 years, Imagination has been providing advanced semiconductor intellectual property (IP) solutions. The new CPU products developed based on these experiences are supported by the rapidly expanding RISC-V ecosystem based on open standards. The system continues to promote the development of the embedded CPU industry by providing more optional solutions. The addition of Imagination will bring a larger range of products and solutions to the rapidly expanding RISC-V ecosystem, and will be especially optimized for heterogeneous computing systems. Now, customers have a wider choice of solutions based on the open source RISC-V ISA, avoiding only choosing from proprietary architecture solutions.
The Catapult series has four different CPU products, namely: dynamic microcontrollers, real-time embedded CPUs, high-performance application processor CPUs, and CPUs that support automotive functional safety.
The first CPU product in this series is a microcontroller. Imagination’s customers have applied it to the high-performance automotive graphics processing unit (GPU) in its system-on-chip (SoC) and have already shipped it; real-time embedded CPUs are now available. Has been listed; high-performance application processor CPU and automotive CPU will also be listed in 2022.
Highly configurable design
Catapult CPU is designed for the application market of 5G modem, storage, advanced driver assistance system (ADAS)/autonomous driving vehicle, data center and high-performance computing. This series of CPUs all adopt a multi-threaded architecture, with 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and a large number of options are provided, and customers can configure them according to the needs of each application. They can be extended to 8 asymmetric coherent cores in each cluster to enhance the versatility of the SoC, and can optionally add custom accelerators.
Tim Mamtora, Director of Innovation at Imagination, said: “As the demand for computing power in the cloud, edge, and devices continues to grow, the processing of large amounts of data is facing unprecedented challenges under the strict constraints of area and power consumption. Using accelerators When dealing with increasingly diversified workloads, heterogeneous computing architecture is the key to providing high-performance, high-flexibility, and high-elasticity computing. Our brand-new CPU core provides the market with a series of excellent solutions based on RISC-V. This allows us to better meet these needs. In addition, these CPUs can also enhance the functions of our world-class GPUs, neural network accelerators and Ethernet products.”
Reliable and safe CPU products supported by the RISC-V ecosystem
Since the Catapult CPU series are designed to comply with the RISC-V ISA, they will be fully supported by the RISC-V ecosystem, where the software and tools are not only very diversified but also constantly increasing.
As part of Imagination’s heterogeneous computing solution, Catapult CPU provides comprehensive hardware, software and debugging support for SoCs using Imagination IP, enhancing the functions of its industry-leading GPU, artificial intelligence (AI) and EPP cores. With the emergence of early performance evaluation models, SoC manufacturers can build models according to their application requirements and select appropriate computing units. All these practices can support manufacturers to release system resources and improve the performance and energy efficiency of their designs.
The automotive CPUs in the Catapult series are developed in accordance with the ISO 26262 automotive standards, which can provide customers with a series of CPU solutions to achieve each automotive safety integrity level (Automotive Safety Integrity Level, ASIL). These brand new CPUs not only have functional safety and security performance, but their design also conforms to the proven safety concepts in the industry. This design enables SoC manufacturers to achieve the highest levels of security and certification required by their target markets.
Shreyas Derashri, Vice President of Computing Business at Imagination, said: “Imagination’s Catapult CPU is a new and exciting solution for the RISC-V market. These CPU products not only condense our expertise in creating innovative semiconductor IP. All experience and expertise have further consolidated our position as a trusted provider of heterogeneous IP solutions. Thanks to Imagination’s rich CPU patent portfolio, Catapult CPU provides comprehensive intellectual property protection. These cores can be applied In many markets, from embedded to high-end applications, its design aims to achieve powerful performance. At the same time, these CPUs provide the same quality, reliability and energy efficiency as our prestigious products.”
Calista Redmond, CEO of RISC-V International Foundation, said: “The RISC-V International Foundation is very pleased to see that Imagination has launched a series of RISC-V-based CPU products. These CPU products launched by Imagination also highlight the RISC-V market. And its ecosystem continues to grow in terms of suppliers and industry partners. Imagination demonstrates the rich and diverse opportunities that RISC-V-based solutions have in heterogeneous computing.”
Tatsuya Kamei, Vice President of Renesas Electronics’ Automotive SoC Development Department, said: “Renesas Electronics has a long history of cooperation with Imagination. Automotive SoC. The growing RISC-V market requires diversified products and reliable partners, as well as more attention to safety and security. We are very happy to see Imagination launch a new, RISC-V-based Catapult CPU IP, They will certainly meet these standards.”
Mike Demler, a senior analyst at Linley Group, said: “As the RISC-V market continues to mature, we have long expected Imagination to re-enter the CPU market with this popular ISA. Imagination uses its The rich experience of cooperating with other CPU architectures has been used to optimize the combination of these new Catapult cores with their GPU and artificial intelligence accelerators, so that their products can be differentiated from those of other RISC-V IP vendors. Covering a complete product series from microcontroller cores to application processor CPUs, Imagination has become a worthy and competitive manufacturer in the CPU field.”
Catapult SDK and Catapult Studio
The Catapult CPU series IP also provides a fully functional software development kit (SDK), which includes an enhanced version of industry-standard build and debug tools, such as GCC, LLVM and GDB, and optimized C libraries; at the same time; Imagination also provides Catapult Studio, its own integrated development environment (IDE); Catapult Studio is based on Visual Studio Code, and has additional functions focused on embedded, RISC-V development, and can be integrated with a wider range of SDKs Tight integration allows developers to take full advantage of Catapult CPU.
Catapult SDK can be used in operating systems such as Windows, Ubuntu, CentOS, MacOS, and FreeRTOS. It can also fully support the Linux operating system, including reference boot loader, kernel, and Yocto-based file system.
Imagination also provides fast and performance evaluation models for Catapult CPUs. They can provide interactive debugging and are compatible with gem5 emulators, which greatly expands the simulation environment to enhance power consumption and energy efficiency testing.
Catapult CPU has the following main functions:
·Comprehensive innovative design, supported by the rapidly expanding RISC-V ecosystem
·As part of Imagination’s complete heterogeneous computing solution, it is as important as its industry-leading GPU, artificial intelligence neural network accelerator (AI NNA) and Ethernet packet processor (EPP) cores
Provides comprehensive hardware, software and debugging support for heterogeneous SoCs using the Imagination IP core
Provide functional safety solutions for the automotive and industrial fields
·Comply with the industry’s proven safety protection concept, and at the same time meet the target market’s safety and certification requirements
·Provided by a mature company, the company has 20 years of professional experience in providing complex IP solutions, and has strong support capabilities