ARC Cores Ltd. (Elstree, England), the licensor of a 32-bit processor core, has acquired VAutomation Inc. and agreed to acquire Precise Software Technologies Inc. The acquisitions will increase the repository of intellectual property (IP) available from ARC and extend it to include software for embedded applications.
Privately held VAutomation (Nashua, N.H.), a provider of standards-based serial communications and peripherals cores, employs 16 workers. Precise Software (Ottawa), which sells embedded Internet protocols, drivers and the Precise/MQX real-time operating system, employs 28. The terms of both acquisitions were not disclosed.
Jim Turley, vice president of marketing at ARC Cores, said that the intellectual property of both companies would be integrated into Architect, the development software from ARC Cores. Architect presents configuration choices for the ARC processor in graphical form and automatically generates appropriate synthesizable VHDL. The addition of optional IP selections from VAutomation and Precise will allow Architect to produce more complete design cores with a range of interfaces and appropriate software, Turley said.
The acquisitions follow ARC's purchase last October of Metaware Inc., which provides a configurable C language compiler for the ARC core.
"The addition of VAutomation's technology-independent peripheral cores extends the original concept of a user-configurable 32-bit RISC processor to encompass complete SoC [system-on-chip] designs," said Bob Terwilliger, president and chief executive of ARC Cores. "This will certainly allow us to better fulfill the SoC promise: to enable rapid chip development through reuse of proven design elements."
VAutomation supplies communication controllers for USB, Ethernet, IEEE-1394 and HDLC applications. In addition, it offers its own V8-microRISC CPU core and development systems for 8086 and 80186 systems.
"VAutomation shares ARC Cores' vision of the importance of configurability to SoC designers," said Eric Ryherd, president of VAutomation. "The configurability of our popular USB host-device hub core is an excellent example of VAutomation's natural fit with ARC's configurable processor."
Terwilliger said he expected VAutomation's configurable cores to be integrated within the Architect design tool by the end of 2000. "You don't have to use VAutomation solutions," Turley added. "We will always provide designers with the option to use other cores or develop their own." Yet "the one-stop shopping" of the ARC-VAutomation combo can cut costs and speed time-to-market, he said.
Terwilliger said the acquisition of Precise does not affect ARC's pursuit of support for a variety of operating systems. The ARC processor has already been ported to Express Logic's ThreadX and to Accelerated Technology Inc.'s Nucleus RTOS. Further ports are expected this year, Terwilliger said.
Jeremy James, president of Precise, said, "Applications such as third-generation mobile telephony, networking and Internet appliances require the type of embedded-software components we provide."
ARC's Turley said that both Precise and VAutomation are expected to become wholly owned subsidiaries of ARC Cores and to maintain their staffs and facilities.