The world’s first RISC-V-based SoC FPGA introduced by Microchip

Microchip Technology Inc. is a leading provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide. Microchip offers outstanding technical support along with dependable delivery and quality.

The PolarFire SoC FPGA Icicle kit is a development platform that enables evaluation of the five-core Linux capable RISC-V microprocessor subsystem, innovative Linux, and real-time execution, low-power capabilities, and the rich set of peripherals of the PolarFire SoC FPGA. PolarFire SoC is ideally suited for secure, reliable and power-efficient high-data processing across a wide range of applications, including imaging, AI/ML, industrial automation, IoT, wireline access networks, aerospace, and defense and automotive.

Open source initiatives are backed by Canonical

While RISC-V enables stable reference architectures and hardware, running stable software on new boards can still be challenging. The cornerstone of the necessary software is the underlying Operating System (OS), which provides reliability and stability. This demand makes development on Linux even more attractive since Linux is the most popular OS for developers and hobbyists across kernels, drivers, and distributions.

Canonical believes that open source is the best way to accelerate innovation, however it comes with its own set of challenges. Canonical aims to position Ubuntu as not just the reference OS for innovators and developers but also as the vehicle to enable them to take their products to market faster by letting them focus on their core application without having to worry about the stability of the underlying frameworks.

RISC-V has great potential and is becoming a competitive ISA in multiple markets. With this premise in mind, porting Ubuntu to RISC-V to become the reference OS for early adopters was a natural choice.

Microchip and Canonical bring Ubuntu to the PolarFire SoC FPGA Icicle Kit

“Collaborating with Canonical as part of the Mi-V RISC-V Ecosystem initiative has added Microchip’s PolarFire SoC FPGA support in Ubuntu,” said Cyril Jean, Associate Director FPGA Systems Architecture at Microchip. “Ubuntu’s package manager, along with the wealth of supported packages, simplifies user application development and provides a familiar environment that bridges the gap between desktop and embedded Linux making it seamless to work on PolarFire SoC FPGAs.”

The availability of Ubuntu running on the PolarFire SoC FPGA Icicle Kit comes as the result of the joint work between Canonical and Microchip’s engineering teams. Canonical’s team is porting Ubuntu to the PolarFire SoC FPGA Icicle Kit, backed by the Microchip engineering team, as part of a long-term collaboration between the two companies.

Ubuntu, backed by Canonical, provides a commercial-grade Linux distribution that is also free to use by innovators and developers. ”The realm of what’s possible for developers on RISC-V has just expanded by pairing Ubuntu, the most popular Linux OS, with the PolarFire SoC FPGA Icicle Kit from Microchip. I predict that the RISC-V + FPGA + Ubuntu bundle will be at the top of developer’s shopping list this year.” said Cindy Goldberg, vice president of Silicon Alliance at Canonical.

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