UltraSoC's Alibaba design win underlines China's significance

July 25, 2018 // By Peter Clarke
Embedded analytics IP vendor UltraSoC Ltd. (Cambridge, England) has licensed its technology for use by C-Sky Microsystems Co. Ltd. (Hangzhou, China), a processor company that was acquired by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. earlier this year.

C-Sky has a long history of supplying 32bit microprocessors and microcontrollers into the Chinese market but the first project that will see deployment of UltraSoC embedded analytics will be for an artificial intelligence SoC, UltraSoC said. C-Sky will also employ UltraSoC's embedded analytics technology in chips based on its own proprietary CPU technology and on the emerging RISC-V open standard.

It is possible that C-Sky will use the extensibility of the RISC-V architectural standard to address machine learning.

Rupert Baines, UltraSoC CEO, said the deal was important for UltraSoC on a number of fronts. "Having Alibaba – one of top vertically-integrated technology companies – as a customer certainly helps us. As does being seen to be a valuable contributor to machine learning IC architecture. And thirdly it enhances our standing in China," he said.

"China is incredibly important to us. Right now about 40 percent of our business is in China, another 40 percent is in the US and remaining 20 percent comes from the rest of the world," Baines added.

UltraSoC's IP allows chip and system designers to access information about the internal operation of an SoC and about the product or system into which it is embedded. This has proved useful for multiprocessor SoCs. Artificial intelligence (AI) chips require multiple processor cores to work with shared data, and incorporate network-style interconnects (networks-on-chip, or NoCs). On-chip analytics are used to ensure that processors are used efficiently, that shared data remains coherent, and that interconnect transports data effectively.

C-Sky's CPU cores have been a Chinese proprietary alternative to ARM architecture with a focus on low power, high performance, high code density and ease of use. They have been deployed in applications ranging from smart devices for the Internet of Things, to digital audio and video, information security, network and communications, industrial control and automotive electronics.

Related links and articles:

www.ultrasoc.com

en.c-sky.com

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