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IBM to offer 'zero-cost' PowerPC license to universities

Posted: 19 Dec 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:IBM? PowerPC 405 core?

IBM Corp. announced last week (Dec. 14) plans to make the specifications of the company's PowerPC 405 core freely available to researchers and academia.

IBM said it plans to coordinate the contribution of the 405 core through, an open community of developers, tool providers and manufacturers developing standards and applications around the Power Architecture. was formed one year ago to enable and promote Power Architecture technology as the preferred collaborative hardware development platform for the electronics industry.

Nigel Beck, chairman of, described Wednesday's announcement as the next step in opening up the Power Architecture. It marks the first time that IBM will make available a "zero-cost" license to researchers and academia, enabling them to take the Power register-transfer level (RTL) code and develop it.

"This is consistent with what we have been doing for the past year," Beck said, adding that the strategy was to start with the creation of infrastructure. "There needs to be a catcher for the IP you are pitching," he said.

According to IBM, the move comes in response to requests by leading educators in computer science and participants in collaborative multi-core processing research projects, such as the Research Accelerator for Multiple Processors (RAMP). RAMP is led by the University of California-Berkeley, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Texas-Austin and the University of Washington.

RAMP researchers will now be able to map this core into their FPGA-based systems or new chip architecture experiments, IBM said.

- Dylan McGrath
EE Times

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