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ISSI to buy CAM startup Purple Ray

Posted: 15 Feb 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:integrated silicon solution? issi? purple ray? cam chip?

Integrated Silicon Solution Inc. has agreed to buy Purple Ray Inc., a startup developing content-addressable memory (CAM) chips.

In a deal announced Feb. 13, ISSI plans to issue up to 652,000 shares of stock to acquire Purple Ray, which is being described as an "R&D stage" company.

ISSI stock was trading at $11.85 midday, making the deal worth roughly $7.7 million.

Purple Ray is trying to increase the speed of CAMs in two ways: by allowing parallel searches of particular CAMs and by hard-wiring the search algorithms rather than providing them in software.

In the former case, the company's PRSP4000 CAM consists of 64 "tiles" that can be arranged into as many as 16 databases per chip. Up to four of these databases can be searched in parallel, giving Purple Ray a theoretical access speed of 532 million lookups per second at 133MHz clock rates.

Tiles can accommodate a thousand 64-bit entries in binary mode or a thousand 32-bit entries in ternary mode.

Separately, Purple Ray is developing two search-engine chips based on hard-wired algorithms. The PRLP100 is designed for longest-prefix-match searches and can hold up to 30 million entries. The PREM256, for exact-match searches only, supports up to 1.5 million entries on six cascaded devices.

The chips employ some proprietary algorithms, developed by Purple Ray in part to make search times deterministic. For example, tree-based algorithms frequently employed for longest-prefix-match searches give nondeterministic performance because they use a varying number of table entries per search, said Paul Cheng, Purple Ray co-founder and chief technology officer.

Ultimately, Purple Ray wants to integrate all three devices for use in next-generation routers, Cheng told EE Times in November. At that time, Purple Ray had received test chips from its foundry and was hoping to sample at least one product in March.

? Craig Matsumoto

EE Times

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