NEW ORLEANS Mosaid Technologies Inc. (Ottawa, Canada), a design house, is teaming up with ARC Cores Ltd. (London) to promote system-on-a-chip (SoC) design based around ARC's 32-bit configurable processor.
The two companies announced a joint marketing and licensing agreement at the Design Automation Conference here, that makes Mosaid a preferred design services partner for ARC. ARC Cores will license its processor core for use in Mosaid products and in SoC designs that Mosaid undertakes for third parties. In addition the two companies will jointly market the capability to integrate ARC's microprocessor with Mosaid's embedded DRAM memory for SOC products.
Rob Hilkes, director of marketing in Mosaid's semiconductor division, said: "The cycling of the DRAM market compels us to look to broaden our business." Hilkes went on to say that the rising significance of embedded DRAM had also led to an increase in more general design services from Mosaid and the need to be able to offer microprocessor-based solutions.
Graham Allen, manager of design services business unit at Mosaid, said: "The ARC's configurability is required for the applications we are looking at." He added that Mosaid would not limit itself to designs including embedded DRAM and would use various memory technologies as appropriate but said that for some applications the ARC core and embedded DRAM should be a useful combination.
Hilkes said Mosaid planned to concentrate on designing chips that accelerate networking operations. One particular design that Mosaid is already engaged in is a cryptography system that would use the extensibility of the ARC core to add appropriate math capability to the basic processor.
Hilkes said that Mosaid would take ARC to market in a number of ways. One would be embedded in the design of standard products that Mosaid would release as a fabless chip company.
Secondly the company could deliver customer-specific chips operating as a fabless ASIC vendor. As a variant on that the company could use its agreement with ARC to sub-license the core and offer ARC-based designs for license.
Finally the company could simply engage as a design services company. "This is a significant step forward in improving the performance of embedded systems with on-chip memory," said Bob Terwilliger, president and chief executive officer of ARC. "Tightly integrating DRAM with the ARC microprocessor can profoundly improve chip size, pin count, power consumption and performance.
Mosaid's recognized system-on-a-chip design know-how, memory experience, and back-end place and route capabilities will provide exceptional opportunities for ARC licensees to bring next-generation SoC designs to market quickly."