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Sun fuels multicore design in Europe

Posted: 07 Nov 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:multicore processor? multithreading design? OpenSPARC?

Sun Microsystems Inc. and Europractice have entered a three-year collaboration to promote OpenSPARC CMT (chip multithreading) technology as a reference design among 650 universities and research institutions across 38 countries in the European region. Europractice is a European Union-backed non-profit microelectronics design stimulation project managed by the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

The agreement is designed to cultivate Europe's future engineering talent, encourage innovative processor designs and spur development in the high-technology industry across the region. The combination of Europractice's leading-edge infrastructure for electronic design tools and implementation flows, and Sun's industry standard-based multicore processor architecture will provide researchers, professors and students with an end-to-end solution to help create next-generation multithreaded microprocessors.

"Sun's open source strategy and easily accessible processor IP design is a key reason for entering into this relationship," said John McLean, head of Europractice software service. "We are excited about the potential for future engineering innovations and educational advances on Sun's OpenSPARC technologies and believe access to this technology will help boost Europe's capabilities in teaching and research in the microprocessor field."

Europractice selected Sun's OpenSPARC technology based on its advanced architecture and freely available commercial-caliber designs. Intended to strengthen the open source community and further next-generation multicore, multithreading development, both the OpenSPARC T1 and OpenSPARC T2 processor RTL files can be downloaded at

"Access to open technologies creates opportunity for talented individuals and spurs communities of innovation. Our collaboration with Europractice will help open doors for tens of thousands of advanced engineering students and next-generation technology leaders across Europe," said Lin Lee, VP of global communities, Sun.

Towards academic excellence
As part of the agreement, Sun and Europractice will jointly foster practices throughout European education institutions and promote curriculum adoption.

Sun and Europractice will hold the first in a series of OpenSPARC technology workshops in Q4. Professors from participating universities will join Sun experts to learn first-hand about the latest processor innovations, including CMT and software programming that maximizes the advantages of multithreading. These professors will then incorporate OpenSPARC in their curriculum, research and lab work.

As a global initiative, the announcement builds on similar efforts by Sun and universities in China, Taiwan, New Zealand and the United States.

"As one of Europe's leading universities in the microelectronic design space, we view this development as important to our drive to integrate leading technology to create next- generation hardware solutions for the business environment," said Per Stenstrom, professor at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. "Sun's UltraSPARC T2 processor is one of the most advanced, multicore, multithreaded and open sourced platforms in the industry."

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